Iowans are about to experience a little more liberty now that legislation legalizing silencers is headed to the desk of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be signed into law.

A bill legalizing firearms suppressors in Iowa will head to Gov. Terry Branstad for approval.

The legislation was amended and approved by the Iowa Senate last week and cleared the House Tuesday.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley. “What we have before us now is a bill that’s going to expand Iowans’ freedoms.”

He said he’s been working on advancing legislation legalizing suppressors, more commonly known as silencers, for the last five years.

He and other advocates for the change have argued the devices don’t completely silence the sound of a gun but muffle it enough to help protect a recreational shooter’s hearing. They’re currently illegal in Iowa, but the bill passed Tuesday would lift the ban.

Silencers (named as such by inventor Hiram Percy Maxim, and also known as “suppressors” or “mufflers” depending on personal preference, and where you are in the world) reduce the ear-damaging blast of gunfire roughly 30 decibels, or about as much as good hearing protection. The sound of a silenced firearm is still anything other than “silenced,” despite the depiction of the devices in the movies that reduce shots to being soundless, or nearly so.

Here in reality, we know that even the best “silenced” weapons still make noise, and a Rifle Dynamics prototype I recently fired at the Pro Gun Club near Las Vegas is a perfect example of that reality.

The rifle in question was a Rife Dynamics prototype in 300 Blackout, firing subsonic bullets, with a tuned Silencerco silencer. Is is purpose-built to be incredibly quiet, and is arguably the quietest AK in the world.

As quiet as it is, you could still easily hear it, even 100 yards away.

Silencer use should not only be legal, but encouraged across the nation to reduce environmental noise and both temporary and long-term hearing loss to shooters and those around them.

H.R. 3799, the Hearing Protection Act, would remove silencers from the National Firearms Act, do away with the absurd $200 tax from the antiquated law, and treat silencers exactly the same way we do guns.

Sadly, most of the nation knows about silencers only from the movies. I’d love to see both state and federal legislators spend time at firing ranges to separate Hollywood hype from reality.

Silencer use should not just be legal, but actively encouraged.