Last week, yet another take on suppressor deregulation was introduced by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), and Mike Crapo (R-ID), as well as Congressman Steve King (R-IA) in the form of the Silencers Helping Us Save Hearing Act (SHUSH Act).
More aggressive in its approach than the Hearing Protection Act and the current SHARE Act, SHUSH aims to reclassify silencers as simple firearm accessories, rather than firearms themselves. Such a change would not only eliminate the $200 National Firearms Act (NFA) tax and the paperwork necessary to own a suppressor, it would truly make them over-the-counter purchases. The HPA and SHARE Act both leave silencers at Title I firearms subject to NICS background checks when purchased from a licensed dealer. SHUSH goes further to treat them in the same manner that one might view a pistol grip, handguard, optic, or any other gun accessory. Under SHUSH, silencers would require no background check to purchase.
This is the sort of approach that many gun owners wanted from the outset. Suppressors themselves aren’t dangerous in any way. They’re relatively easy to make and uncommonly used in the commission of crime. Enthusiasts see the HPA as a move in the right direction, but SHUSH is more in line with shooters’ true feelings. As is the case in the current renditions of HPA and SHARE, SHUSH calls for NFA tax refunds for anyone who has purchased a suppressor since the HPA’s original introduction on October 22, 2015.
While the SHUSH Act’s appearance is a positive sign for gun owners and suppressor enthusiasts, it still faces the same challenging road as the HPA and SHARE. Should these bills make it through their current committees, passage in the House of Representatives appears to be reasonably likely in some form. Prospects in the Senate are less reassuring as the current makeup of the chamber and Senate rules will make it difficult for Republicans to gather filibuster-proof support for the bill(s).
As it stands, the SHUSH Act has been referred to Senate Finance Committee as well as the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees in the House.