Congress

S.C. Rep. Duncan defends gun silencer bill from New York criticism

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., defended his proposal to ease restrictions on gun silencers after a New York senator went on a tweet storm to disparage the legislation. In the photo, Duncan speaks during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., defended his proposal to ease restrictions on gun silencers after a New York senator went on a tweet storm to disparage the legislation. In the photo, Duncan speaks during the Freedom Summit, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. AP

South Carolina GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan defended his proposal to ease restrictions on gun silencers after a New York senator went on a tweet storm to disparage the legislation.

“I’m fighting back against bills (backed by the Trump admin) that’d make it easy for criminals to buy gun silencers,” tweeted Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, with a link to a New York Post story about her comments.

Duncan’s Hearing Protection Act, introduced in January, aims to make gun silencers more easily available to hunters and other gun owners. Under current regulations, silencers face a $200 transfer tax and are classified in the same category as machine guns and explosives.

Duncan’s bill would do away with the transfer tax.

“Can you imagine if we allowed a criminal with a gun in New York City to attach a silencer to their weapon? It’d be a dangerous mistake,” Gillibrand said Tuesday in a Twitter thread. “When someone gets shot by a gun with a silencer, it’s quiet. Witnesses might not hear. Police will be less likely to track down the shooter.”

At this point in the thread, Duncan responded via Twitter:

“.@SenGillibrand this is my bill. You seem misinformed. I’d love to invite you to a firing range to demonstrate them first hand. Interested?” he wrote.

Duncan later expanded his tweet in a statement.

“I am encouraged that Senator Gillibrand is interested in the Hearing Protection Act and suppressor technology,” said Duncan by email. “Though she seems to be misinformed about suppressors, I look forward to hopefully discussing suppressor usage further and dispelling Hollywood myths. I think once the Senator sees the evidence, she’ll find her fears to be largely unfounded. I hope she’ll be able to join us when we demonstrate suppressors for the members!”

Duncan has argued in the past that the law that regulates silencers, originally passed in 1934, is archaic and hinders safe gun ownership. Duncan has reportedly suffered from hearing loss from hunting at an early age, which, he argues, would’ve been prevented had his family been able to use silencers.

Donovan Harrell: 202-383-6044, @dono_harrell

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