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Idaho Senate wants Congress to cut silencer rules

A lineup of firearm silencers at a trade show.
John Locher
In this Jan. 19, 2016 file photo, gun silencers are on display at the Sig Sauer booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas.

The Idaho state senate is backing a bill in Congress that would lift some restrictions on firearm silencers.

The nonbinding resolution urges federal lawmakers to pass a bill sponsored by Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (R).

Right now, those wanting to buy a silencer need to get permission from federal officials. They also need to pay an extra fee and submit fingerprints.

“It really makes no sense to regulate a suppressor at a higher level than the actual firearm itself,” said state Sen. Todd Lakey (R-Nampa), who supported the resolution.

Silencers or suppressors depending on who you talk to, sharply reduces the noise generated when a gun fires a bullet.

It can cut the noise by as much as 35 decibels, according to the American Suppressor Association, an industry trade group promoting the accessories.

That’s roughly the same amount of noise counteracted by wearing protection devices like earplugs or earmuffs.

Prolonged exposure to loud noises above a certain threshold, or acute, excessively loud noises can lead to hearing damage.

But state Sen. Ali Rabe (D-Boise) said noises made by firearms play an important role in overall gun safety.

“Guns are incredibly powerful tools,” said Rabe. “I think it’s good that we can hear that power that they have, especially as kids are growing up.”

Crapo’s bill would still require those buying a silencer to undergo a background check, like a typical gun purchase.

It has yet to receive a hearing in Congress.

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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