14:08 GMT28 January 2020
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    The US gun industry is lobbying to rebrand silencers as hearing-protection devices, repealing a long screening process for their purchase that has been in place since the 1930s.

    Over a dozen states have legalized silencers for hunting, and sales are currently skyrocketing. According to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), sales of the devices went from 360,534 in March of 2012 to 792,282 in February of 2015.

    To purchase a silencer, or “suppressor” as they are referred to in the gun industry, one must undergo a screening process that lasts for four to nine months. They’re significantly more difficult to purchase than a gun itself, and the use of a silencer during a violent crime carries a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.

    Interestingly, a 2007 study published in the Western Criminology Review revealed that silencers are rarely found to have been used in murder cases. Over 10 years, researchers found only two murder cases in which the devices were used. Many in the gun industry believe that this is because weapons equipped with the device are more difficult to conceal.

    The Hearing Protection Act, proposed by Arizona Republican representative Matt Salmon in October, currently has 51 cosponsors and aims to scale back the background check process for their purchase.

    “If we have something that mitigates that kind of hearing loss, we ought to be encouraging it,” Salmon told the Guardian. He argues that access to silencers would allow soldiers and hunters to avoid hearing damage like what he has suffered after 50 years of shooting guns.

    Contrary to popular belief, however, silencers only quiet the sound of a gunshot to the level of a jackhammer, the Guardian noted.


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    Silencer, Gun Industry, US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Matt Salmon
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