NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Republican lawmaker from East Tennessee has introduced a bill to make gun silencers easier to acquire.
State Rep. Tilman Goins’ bill is known as the Hearing Protection Act, and it’s dependent on a similar bill before Congress of the same name.
“First of all, I think the most important thing that people understand is that silencers are already legal in Tennessee,” said Rep. Goins.
Under current state law, Tennesseans can own silencers if they abide by federal law. That means paying $200, getting fingerprinted, photographed, and going through a months-long background check.
Goins described the process, saying a would-be owner must “fill out a bunch of cumbersome paperwork and then wait anywhere from two months to a year to get their permission back to own a silencer.”
If passed, both the bill before Congress and Rep. Goins’ would greatly reduce the length of time a person would have to wait to buy a silencer. Silencers would be treated like less-regulated firearms, reducing the wait time for purchase from months to days or even minutes.
Goins said he named his bill after the congressional bill and says using silencers are a matter of public health.
“The average gun report is around 150 to 180 decibels,” said the lawmaker, describing how loud a gunshot registers without the use of a silencer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, sounds higher than 85 decibels can be potentially damaging to ears.Goins said a silencer doesn’t reduce the sound of a gun as much as is portrayed by Hollywood.
“A silencer will reduce it by about 30 to 50 decibels,” he explained.
In other words, the sound still registers above a safe decibel level.
For gun control advocates who are leery of silencers, Goins says, “Data across the state shows most criminals through armed robbery, or whatever, they value concealability among all else. And when you add a silencer to a firearm you lose concealability.”