Republican Congressman Jeff Duncan from South Carolina’s 3rd district proposed the SHARE Act in the U.S. House of Representatives approximately a year ago. The SHARE Act, or Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, includes a provision which would drastically reduce the time required to obtain a firearm suppressor. Currently, it takes about 9 months and a $200 tax on top of the cost of the suppressor to obtain one. If passed, this bill would require a person to only pass an instant background check. The main objective of this bill is to reduce the number of hunters and people who enjoy shooting at the range from suffering hearing-related injuries and loss due to firing weapons.
The SHARE Act has become extremely politicized and controversial especially in light of the massacres that occurred in Vegas and Parkland in the past year. As a result of the shooting in Vegas, the bill was pulled from floor consideration, but may be brought up again later this Congressional session. Even though the right to own a firearm is a key and clear-cut component of the U.S. Constitution, suppressors are not mentioned. There is a legitimate claim for ease of obtaining a suppressor as there are a large number of hearing related injuries each year to law-abiding American citizens as a result of recreational shooting. Many sportsmen like Congressman Duncan would like to be able to continually fire their weapons over time without fear of their hearing deteriorating. The question that remains is whether or not the benefits of the SHARE Act outweigh the potential costs.
Even with a suppressor, firearms are still incredibly loud and likely to be heard by those nearby. I witnessed a demonstration by Congressman Duncan in which he fired several different weapons with and without suppressors. He actually invited Congresswoman Pelosi to this demonstration via Twitter, but oddly enough she was not present. Even with the suppressor, the shots were still quite loud and drew much attention. According to the Washington Post, an AR-15 with a suppressor still produces 132 decibels. This is similar to the noise produced by a jackhammer or shot from a .22 pistol, certainly over the 85 decibels where hearing damage begins to take place.
In fact, Congressman Jeff Duncan is partially deaf in one ear from shooting recreationally. Duncan assured me that he has worn hearing protection his entire life and still has been harmed by going to the range or embarking on a hunting trip. Consequently, it makes sense that Congressman Duncan would seek to make it easier for himself and others around the country who enjoy exercising their Second Amendment rights to protect their hearing. This bill, unfortunately, was set for a committee hearing the day Majority Whip Scalise was shot at the GOP baseball practice mere seconds after Duncan departed. This combined with the shootings in Texas, Florida, and Nevada was enough to cause the bill to be withdrawn as the nation was considerably more fond of gun restrictions in the aftermath of these emotional events.
Now that things have settled down, the SHARE Act should be brought back up for consideration. It is a simple piece of legislation that can help countless Americans by preventing hearing loss caused by using firearms in recreational hunting, like in the case of Congressman Duncan.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.