A blockbuster report by HuffPost has uncovered that the “lead author” of the NRA-backed “Hearing Protection Act,” which is quickly being pushed through Congress as part of the SHARE Act, was none other than the general counsel of the American Suppressor Association, the silencer industry trade group that exists to boost the silencer manufacturing industry.
According to HuffPost:
“A 2016 ASA blog post says that Michael Williams, the organization’s former general counsel, was ‘lead author’ of the Hearing Protection Act.”
The report by HuffPost reporter Nick Wing also found that the silencer industry is in big financial trouble, and views the NRA-backed SHARE Act, which would gut silencer safety laws, as its key to windfall profits:
“‘I think a safe bet is that the suppressor industry could multiply by 10 times,’ Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, told HuffPost.
“Sales have been sliding at a number of the largest suppressor manufacturers, and industry leaders suggest many prospective buyers are holding off on purchases in anticipation of a regulatory rollback. Some companies have met the dip with mass layoffs. SilencerCo let go of hundreds of employees in February, and other companies such as Wisconsin-based Griffin Armament have also reportedly downsized.”
Wing also highlighted comments from a gun manufacturing CEO, reported by Lois Beckett at the Guardian, who in an earnings call earlier this month described the acquisition of a silencers company as “somewhat opportunistic” given the possibility of “favorable changes in legislation.”
Meanwhile, in a must-read column for the New York Times, Gail Collins wrote that “When you get down to the basics, Congress is now considering a bill to make mass shootings less noisy.”
The reason, Collins notes, is that gun industry sales are on the decline:
“[G]un manufacturers and gun dealers are having a tough year. Democratic presidents are great for their business. While there were about three-quarters of a million guns sold in the month of the Sept. 11 attacks, there were more than a million sold in the month Barack Obama was first elected and the gun lobby stirred up paranoia about new regulations. Dealers sold two million in the January after Obama’s re-election, and sales jumped again dramatically at the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in.
“Now we’re in the Trump era. ‘Sales are declining, and the industry needs a new source of profit,’ said Chris Murphy of Connecticut, one of the Senate’s top gun safety advocates. Silencers can cost as much as $1,000, and given the fact that there are about 300 million guns in the country available for silencing, we’re talking about quite a potential boom.”
More information about the proposed legislation about silencers is available here. If you have additional questions about this dangerous legislation, don’t hesitate to reach out.