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Bill could make buying gun suppressors easier

A .45 caliber pistol with a sound suppressor attached. A .45 caliber pistol with a sound suppressor attached.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate could make it easier for you to buy a sound suppressor for your gun.

The sound suppressor, colloquially known as a silencer, is often seen in movies as the assassin’s ultimate tool. But Frank King, the range safety officer at Jefferson Gun Outlet, said the suppressor doesn’t always live up to its silver screen reputation.

“The myth of the ‘pew-pew’ you know, really quiet sound, is not it. That's just what it is - a myth,” King said. “It's never truly quiet. That's why they're not called silencers, they're called suppressors. They only suppress the sound.”

The bill, dubbed The Hearing Protection Act of 2017, would make suppressors much easier to buy. Right now, gun owners have to go through a process with the ATF, pay a fee, sometimes even set up a trust before they can get a suppressor.

And then there’s the wait.

“If you fill out the paperwork and you send it in right now it's anywhere from eight to 12 months before you ever get anything back,” King said.

King said the biggest benefit of a suppressor is to your ears, especially in an indoor range.

“Even with hearing protection, you're going to do a little bit of damage [to your ears]. We do double hearing protection because we’re around it so much. When we do shoot suppressed we still wear double hearing protection it just mitigates the damage,” King said.

We tested the difference in sound with a .45-caliber pistol and saw a marked difference.

“I shot a firearm recently that had a suppressor on it and it's a huge difference. There's a big bang when you fire a gun that does not have a suppressor versus one with a suppressor. The sound is barely over a snapping finger,” former lawmaker Austin Badon said.

Badon is a gun owner himself and sees the benefit of a suppressor, especially while hunting, but he thinks the current safeguards in place already hit the bulls-eye, especially the lengthy waiting period.

“It takes a while and I think rightly so because if it falls into the hands of the wrong people, some bad guys or something like that, it could be potentially dangerous. So it's a good thing to have governmental organizations being a watchdog over something like this,” Badon said.

Still, gun enthusiasts like King believe a suppressor won’t make a gun any more dangerous and wouldn’t inhibit forensic investigations as they’re used now.

In fact, King thinks the hefty price of suppressors could shoot up, which could be its own deterrent.

“They are in demand, but you have to go through a lot of paperwork to get one. If they lift the ban on it, you're going to see a huge price increase just from demand,” King said.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved. 

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