The measure, introduced by Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, would exempt silencers that are manufactured in Idaho from federal regulation.
Hagedorn said he sees it as a public health issue. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spent almost $700,000 on hearing loss for Medicaid patients last year, he said. Of that, more than $330,000 was because of shooting-related impairments - suggesting that nearly half of all hearing loss in Idaho might be related to shooting activities.
The Senate State Affairs Committee will hear the bill.
"Anybody can buy a suppressor now, but there's a $200 (federal) tax and about an eight-month wait for the permit to be approved," Hagedorn said. "In the meantime, their hearing is being damaged. It only takes one shot for your hearing to start to degrade. It actually breaks the hairs off in the cochlea."
An average gunshot is 145 decibels, he said. A suppressor can decrease that by about 30 percent; it doesn't silence the shot completely, but drops it to the level of a lawn mower, for instance.
Ear protectors aren't really a viable option for Idaho hunters, he said, so creating a simple process for purchasing silencers is one way to offer relief.
Hagedorn also unveiled a second bill Monday that would require local school boards to work with their county sheriffs on developing safety and security plans for all public schools within their districts.
Since last year's school massacre in Newtown, Conn., he said, Idaho lawmakers have heard from people on both sides of the issue - those who think school safety could be improved by arming teachers, and those who think that's the wrong way to go.
This bill lets each district decide what works best for them, given the resources available.
"The objective is to have law enforcement and the boards work together to create a security plan that ensures our students are safe, whether in school or on a school bus," Hagedorn said.
The bill doesn't dictate specific solutions but does require the plans to include "multiple deterrents." It also requires annual safety and crisis response training for students and school employees, and exempts the security plans from public records requests.