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Firearm silencers or suppressors have earned a somewhat nefarious reputation thanks in part to their frequent portrayal in pop culture as the accessories of hitmen and assassins like James Bond.
For many everyday gun owners, they’re little more than a tool that limits the sound of gunfire, making shooting easier on the ears. At least that’s the argument put forward by one prominent gun enthusiast — Donald Trump Jr., the son of President-elect Donald Trump.
As it stands now, silencers are currently legal in 42 states, but they’re strictly regulated by the Federal government. In order to purchase a silencer, an average law-abiding citizen must undergo a nine-month approval process in addition to paying a hefty tax of $200, notes The Washington Post.
In spite of the paperwork and fees, silencers remain popular. In 2010 there were 285,087 registered silencers in the United States, as of last year, that number had grown to 902,085.
The firearm industry, which has railed against the restrictions for years, is pursuing new legislation to make it easier to buy silencers, and Trump Jr. is an outspoken proponent of a proposed policy change to do just that.
In a video interview with SilencerCo., a Utah-based silencer manufacturer, Trump Jr. framed the issue around safety, namely the safety of shooters, alluding to the effects of firing an unsuppressed weapon.
“It’s about safety,” Trump Jr., himself an avid hunter and recreational shooter, said in the video interview. “It’s about hearing protection. It’s a health issue for me. It’s just a great instrument. There’s nothing bad about it all. It makes total sense. It’s where we should be going.”
Proponents of silencers, like Trump Jr. are often quick to draw attention to Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, but has no regulations against silencers.
“I’ve had the privilege of being able to hunt in Europe where some of the strictest gun laws in the world exist, but guess what? Virtually every hunting gun there is suppressed,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “They have silencers there, they don’t look at it as this military whatever, I don’t even know what the left tries to portray this as. It’s about safety.”
Far from actually making gunfire completely silent, silencers function similar to a muffler on a car’s exhaust, reducing the sound.
An attempt to lessen restrictions on silencers in U.S. stalled last year when the Hearing Protection Act failed to make it to committee hearings, however it was the third most viewed piece of legislation on Congress’ website that year. The law would have moved silencers out of the same category as machine guns and hand grenades, eliminating the heavy fees and lengthy approval process.
Now, with Republicans in charge of the House and Senate, and Trump Jr. advocating to lessen restrictions on silencers as a public health effort to safeguard ear-drums and hearing, gun owners may be able to purchase the accessory with greater ease in the future.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
The US military now has to ask the Iraqis for permission before giving close air support to troops in combat
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
Army Spc. Clayton James Horne died in Saudi Arabia on Aug. 17, making him the eighth non-combat fatality for Operation Inherent Resolve so far this year, defense officials have announced.
Horne, 23, was assigned to the 351st Military Police Company, 160th Military Police Battalion, an Army Reserve unit based in Ocala, Florida, a Pentagon news release says.
The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).