What happened that fateful Sunday evening in Las Vegas is beyond words. In the days immediately following the shooting, I intentionally avoided saying much, not because I didn’t have opinions, but because I feel that we as a society are often too quick to politicize a situation. The days after the shooting should have been spent grieving, coming together and looking for answers. Unfortunately that’s not what happened, and now I feel compelled to correct the record on some of the over-the-top rhetoric.
As the Washington Post’s Fact Checker unit confirmed in 2015, practically none of the then existing legislation made a difference in recent attacks. That is particularly true when it comes to the left’s attacks on my sportsmen’s legislation (the SHARE Act), which among many other things reclassifies gun suppressors. Even though at the time of this writing, no suppressor has been found in the possession of the Las Vegas shooter, suppressors on weapons firing full-automatic, even simulated as in this most recent case, can cause significant challenges for the shooter, often making them unfeasible. The truth is that the only place a suppressor is silent is on a Hollywood soundstage.
Hearing loss begins at 85 decibels (dB). A roaring football stadium is around 100 dB, a jackhammer is about 130 dB, a suppressed firearm around 130 dB and an unsuppressed hunting rifle around 155 dB to 160 dB. I’m not aware of anyone who would consider a jackhammer to be silent. To suggest otherwise is nothing more than political posturing.
Suppressors are useful tools for protecting the hearing of recreational shooters, hunters and their dogs, who often can’t use traditional hearing protection due to the nature of their activity. If my legislation were to become law, suppressors would actually be more regulated than they currently are in Europe. We need to stick to the facts.
Duncan is a Republican congressman from South Carolina
This appears in the October 16, 2017 issue of TIME.