Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shots Fired or the Silence of the Lambs

Imagine a shooting in a crowded place where no one hears the gun fire...where one person after another falls wounded or dead because the firearm is all but silent.

Here are the Members of Congress who intend to rip this scenario from your imagination to play out in your local dance club, the lobby of your airport or church, along the margins of your local ball-field, in a grade school classroom, and then another, maybe a third before anyone notices ("I wonder why those children are screaming.... Oh, well, now it stopped").

These Members of Congress are the sponsors of the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, ISYN—because the worst thing about shootings is the noise, right?

1st Session
H. R. 367

To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.

January 9, 2017

        Mr. Duncan of South Carolina (for himself, Mr. Carter of Texas, Mr. Gene Green of Texas, Mr. Austin Scott of Georgia, Mr. Biggs, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Hudson, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Harris, Mr. Westerman, Mr. Olson, Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Hensarling, Mr. Carter of Georgia, Mr. Labrador, Mr. Brooks of Alabama, Mr. Smith of Texas, Mr. Bishop of Utah, Mr. Brat, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Palmer, Mrs. Love, Mr. Bridenstine, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Emmer, Mr. Ratcliffe, Mr. Jody B. Hice of Georgia, Mr. Buck, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Messer, Mr. Mooney of West Virginia, Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Newhouse, Mr. Smith of Missouri, Mr. Graves of Georgia, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Wenstrup, Mr. Rogers of Alabama, Mr. DesJarlais, Mr. Massie, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Gohmert, and Mr. Yoder) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.This Act may be cited as the “Hearing Protection Act of 2017”.
SEC. 2. EQUAL TREATMENT OF SILENCERS AND FIREARMS.(a) In General.—Section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking “(7) any silencer” and all that follows through “; and (8)” and inserting “; and (7)”.
(b) Effective Date.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the amendment made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) TRANSFERS.—In the case of the tax imposed by section 5811 of such Code, the amendment made by this section shall apply with respect to transfers after October 22, 2015.
SEC. 3. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN SILENCERS.Section 5841 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(f) Firearm Silencers.—A person acquiring or possessing a firearm silencer in accordance with Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, shall be treated as meeting any registration and licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act (as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this subsection) with respect to such silencer.”.
SEC. 4. PREEMPTION OF CERTAIN STATE LAWS IN RELATION TO FIREARM SILENCERS.Section 927 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: “Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a law of a State or a political subdivision of a State that, as a condition of lawfully making, transferring, using, possessing, or transporting a firearm silencer in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, imposes a tax on any such conduct, or a marking, recordkeeping or registration requirement with respect to the firearm silencer, shall have no force or effect.”. 
If it becomes law, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 will make it illegal for any state or local jurisdiction to regulate or record the manufacture, transport, sale, possession, or use of silencers. 

So much for states rights, right?

Who, exactly, does this serve?

Look again at the list of sponsors. See anyone whose name you recognize? Anything you'd like to tell them? [h/t Dana Milbank]

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