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Suppressor Bill Could Be Suppressed

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- In Des Moines, state legislators are reviewing a law that would allow suppressors to be sold in Iowa. The firearm attachment hasnt been legal for sale or possession, except for law enforcement in 31 years. But now, gun enthusiasts want to change that.

It all started in 1983 when Governor Terry Branstad, as one of the first ten bills he signed into law, banned the sale of suppressors in Iowa. Now, some gun owners say it makes sense to bring them back.

"The average person who is going to spend the money on a suppressor  and go through the federal background check and pay the 200-dollar tax is going to be what I call your "gun enthusiast, said Cedar Valley Outfitters Owner Ernie Traugh.

Hes not talking about your average hunter who might shoot just a few times a season.

"It's going to be your guy who definitely buys multiple guns a year and spends thousands of dollars on training and thousands of dollars on ammo, said Traugh.

Traugh says that kind of shooting means theres a real potential for hearing damage. There is hearing protection to wear but Traugh says a suppressor would be helpful too.

The bill has already passed the Iowa House of Representatives, but members of the Senate arent so sure theyll pass it. Democrat Rob Hogg heads up the Senate Judiciary Committee, where the bill will go through before it sees a vote, if it ever does.

"I've been in office 12 years, said Hogg. This is the first year I remember hearing from any constituents about it."

He says if its such a big deal, hed like to see it as a campaign issue in 2014 so that the voters can have a say.

"I don't think there was a single campaign in 2012 where the legality of silencers was an issue, said Hogg.

Traugh says he has heard rumblings in the past, but theres been a stronger push recently.

"You have manufactures of that product right in the state of Iowa, said Traugh. You have things that sell for hundreds and hundreds of dollars that thousands of them would be sold in the state as soon as they allow it."

But the legislative process is built to be slow. Even in the cross hairs, it doesnt seem like itll speed up.

Traugh says most law enforcement already use suppressors because when they use their weapons, they generally dont have hearing protection. The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association says it is officially neutral on the issue. They say if there are amendments or changes to the bill, they might change that official stance.

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