The President Elect’s son is making some news this week, this time as a vocal proponent for the relaxation of regulations on suppressors for shooters.
Suppressors are currently regulated at a level which is more severe than even firearms themselves. Even if you happen to live someplace where you can get one you’ll generally wind up paying a fortune for the privilege and will be waiting quite a while to get it. Donald Trump jr., along with many other Second Amendment enthusiasts, would like to see that changed, and a new GOP administration along with majorities in Congress may allow it to happen.
Now the gun industry, which for decades has complained about the restrictions, is pursuing new legislation to make silencers easier to buy, and a key backer is Donald Trump Jr., an avid hunter and the oldest son of the president-elect, who campaigned as a friend of the gun industry.
The legislation stalled in Congress last year. But with Republicans in charge of the House and Senate and the elder Trump moving into the White House, gun rights advocates are excited about its prospects this year.
Currently, you have to fill out a pile of paperwork, wait upwards of 6 months while it’s processed by the
yawning “overworked” ATF bureaucracy and if approved, pay a $200 excise tax for a little blue postage stamp affixed to a form granting you permission to have said device.
As part of the deal to possess a suppressor or machine gun, you effectively waive your rights against unlawful search and seizure. ATF agents can demand to search your home without a warrant to ensure that you’re still in possession of the device and that it’s properly and securely stored. If they discover any discrepancy, they can seize the device without compensation and possibly haul you off to jail.
The non-refundable tax is punitive and meant to deter the sale and resale of machine guns and suppressors. Each time the device is transferred to a new owner that tax must be paid again increasing the cost of the device until it becomes un-affordable.
The whole prohibition on suppressors is the result of Hollywood hype, that such devices render guns virtually silent making them the ideal tool of assassins. In fact, even the best suppressors only diminish the sharp crack, reducing the sound to that of a carpenter’s hammer striking wood. Anyone can tell you that’s still pretty loud, just not painfully so.
And so the push to eliminate the tax and the restrictive paperwork requirement is based on saving the hearing of recreational shooters and hunters. Anyone living near a shooting range would also benefit from gun owners using these devices.
You can expect as the legislative push gains steam the anti-gun crowd will be wailing about crime, as if the typical drive-by shooter in cities like Chicago gives a damn about the sound of their gunshots now. But that fear mongering tactic hasn’t kept state after state from allowing concealed carry.
I expect before the end of Trump’s first term you may be able to walk into any gun store and buy a suppressor as easily as a rifle scope. And being able to won’t have any measurable effect on crime, destroying yet another gun control myth.