Ravell Call, Deseret News
Stan Nelson loads his rifle at the Bountiful Lions Club Range.

A recent guest column ("The SHARE Act shares the potential for more gun violence," Sept. 28) is riddled with false claims about legislation that would help protect the rights of millions of American who hunt and shoot competitively or for sport. The misinformed author of the column, Linda Newell, identifies herself as part of a national gun control group whose radical agenda has been rejected time and again by the people of Utah. When armed with the facts, the people of Utah have always chosen freedom over burdensome government regulations.

Here are the facts about the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, now being considered in Congress.

Newell makes the false claim that the legislation “deregulates gun silencers and armor-piercing bullets, putting them on the streets of our cities.” Most people in the hunting and firearms community do not call them “silencers,” we call them suppressors. They work like a car muffler to reduce the noise from a firearm. They do not silence a gun. Under the SHARE Act, anyone wishing to purchase a suppressor would still have to go through a federal background check — ensuring that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill do not have access to them.

According the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, "The SHARE Act would simply make it easier for law-abiding gun owners to protect their hearing with suppressors. A firearm suppressor reduces the noise of a firearm to roughly the level of a jackhammer, which, while still loud, will not instantly damage hearing like an unsuppressed firearm. Current federal law requires registration, the paying of a $200 tax, and up to a 12-month wait to acquire a firearm suppressor."

As a firearms instructor it would be nice to not have to wear double hearing protection to insure that I do not have continued hearing loss, and as a hunter in the field, it is not convenient and sometimes not appropriate to wear hearing protection because you want to make sure you can hear animals approaching or other hunters. I have often worried about my hearing while hunting. The NRA-ILA reiterates that, "the SHARE Act recognizes that we must give law-abiding sportsmen and women greater options to protect their hearing."

Finally, regulations on “armor-piercing bullets” would remain on the books but focus more clearly on the handgun ammunition that most threatens law-enforcement officers.

Gun control groups have also been making the false claim that firearms suppressors will threaten public safety. That has been debunked. The head of the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, says his group has zero opposition to the bill. Jim Pasco says, “The reasoning is because silencers are not — and have not been in the recent past — a law enforcement problem.”

The SHARE Act would also add protections for sportsmen and women who travel across state lines with their hunting gear. We’ve all seen the stories of law-abiding gun owners who are arrested and harassed in places like New York City and New Jersey because they refuse to recognize current federal law which protects lawful interstate travel with a firearm. The SHARE Act simply reaffirms longstanding federal law in this respect.

The fact is, we need better laws to protect our sportsmen and sportswomen. They are the financial backbone of successful fish and wildlife management in this country and ensuring that they remain part of the landscape is the best thing we can do to protect our fish and wildlife resources for present and future generations. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, each year, Utah’s nearly 200,000 hunters contribute more than $925 million a year to the state economy.

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It is critical that law-abiding sportsmen have land access, the ability to travel the country without fear of harassment and prosecution, can participate in their sport safely and that fish and wildlife decisions are once again balanced between federal and state partners. Misleading arguments and outright lies against the SHARE Act provide a disservice to the public and fail to recognize the contributions made by those who engage in our treasured outdoor traditions. Despite continued misrepresentations by opponents, the SHARE Act is critically important to the future protection of our fish and wildlife resources and should be supported by all Americans.

Crystal Perry was born and raised in Utah and is an avid hunter and fisher. She is a certified firearms instructor for the Utah Concealed Firearm Permit Training Course.