GOP lawmaker invites colleagues to Capitol shooting range

GOP lawmaker invites colleagues to Capitol shooting range
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Rep. Jeff Duncan has invited his colleagues to the Capitol Police shooting range in a Senate office building on Tuesday to try their hand at firing a gun with a silencer.

Duncan’s office said the South Carolina Republican is trying to drum up support for the Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act, which would eliminate a federal requirement that firearm silencers, also known as sound suppressors, be registered.

Duncan along with Sen. Mike CrapoMike CrapoGOP lawmakers introduce measures to repeal consumer bureau arbitration rule Senate Banking leaders introduce flood insurance bill Overnight Regulation: Senate Banking panel huddles with regulators on bank relief | FCC proposes 2M fine on robocaller | Yellowstone grizzly loses endangered protection MORE (R-Idaho) have invited both Democrat and Republican colleagues to join them at the shooting rage in the Rayburn Office Building from 4:30 to 6:30 on Tuesday.

Under Duncan’s proposal, purchasers would only be required to pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check to purchase a silencer – the same background check that’s required when purchasing a gun.

The bill, so-sponsored by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), would also give people a tax refund if they purchased a suppressor before Oct. 22, 2015 — the date their bill was first introduced.

Federal law now allows a $200 tax to be imposed on someone buying a silencer.

Duncan claims there’s a misconception that suppressed firearms are used for violent purposes. 

“I want people to understand what a suppressor does in order to make an accurate judgment,” Duncan said in a statement to The Hill. “Throughout this debate I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard folks fall on irrational talking points simply because they don’t have the curiosity or wherewithal to educate themselves.”

Duncan said members are welcome to come just to observe on Tuesday or actively participate by firing both suppressed and unsuppressed weapons.

“I hope they will take this opportunity to become informed policy makers as the HPA [Hearing Protection Act] makes its way through Congress,” he said.

The National Rifle Association, which backs the legislation, has argued that the bill would bring gun shot noises below the 140 decibels the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim can cause permanent hearing damage.

The group said recently that typical a gunshot can be louder than 160 decibels but a suppressor can reduce that sound by more than 30 decibels.

Even with the suppressor, Duncan’s office said a gun is still as loud as a jackhammer.

Gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, however, say the legislation will just make it easier for silencers to fall into the wrong hands.

“The loud and distinctive noise that a gun makes is one of its most important safety features: when people hear it, they realize they may need to run, hide, or protect others,” the group said its website in a fact sheet on the proposal.

“In mass shootings, being able to hear the gunshots can mean the difference between life and death.”

- This story was corrected on Jun 6 to reflect that there is a $200 federal tax on silencers.