WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 3rd, the first day of the 116th Congress, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03) introduced the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) of 2019. An enhanced version of previous HPA’s, this legislation includes several suppressor related technical amendments that were first incorporated into the SHARE Act of 2017. The primary focus of the bill is to remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act (NFA), making it easier for law-abiding hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing while at the range or in the field.
“The Hearing Protection Act is a commonsense bill that is important to all sportsmen and women across the country,” said Rep. Duncan. “Personally, I have experienced hearing damage from firearm noise, and I believe easier access to suppressors may have prevented much of this damage from early on in my life. Bottom line, this bill aims to fix this health issue that has already been addressed by many other countries. Now is the time to ensure sportsmen and women can have the safety and protection they need while hunting and shooting.”
Originally introduced by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ-05) in 2015, the Hearing Protection Act has garnered national attention for nearly four years. However, this year marks the first time that the HPA will be introduced into a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
“Regardless of who holds power in DC, the American Suppressor Association believes that citizens should not have to pay a tax to protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of ASA. “With anti-suppressor legislators now in control of the House, the path to passage of the HPA is now exponentially harder than it was before. It may take years, but we at ASA, along with Rep. Duncan and his tremendous staff, will not stop working until we get suppressors out of NFA where they belong.”
Suppressors are one of the most misunderstood tools in existence. They have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. In order to purchase a suppressor, prospective buyers must live in a state where suppressors are legal, send in an application including fingerprints and passport photos to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax, notify their local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), and wait an indeterminate amount of time for ATF to process the application. As of January 2019, wait times typically range from 5 to 14 months.
The terms “silencer” and “suppressor” refer to the same thing – a muffler for a firearm. It is important to note that nothing can actually silence the noise of a gunshot. Physics will not allow it, as there are too many variables that suppressors do not affect. In reality, suppressors work in the same manner as mufflers on cars, which function by trapping hot expanding gasses and allowing them to slowly cool, thereby reducing the noise to safer levels.
The Hearing Protection Act is a common-sense step that aligns with the 42 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 40 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. This legislation seeks to remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories.
We would also like to acknowledge all of the original cosponsors of the bill in the 116th Congress: Fleischmann (TN-03), Young (AK), Abraham (LA-05), Roe (TN-01), Gohmert (TX-01), Bergman (MI-01), Walker (NC-06), Westerman (AR-04), Graves (GA-14), Gosar (AZ-04), Latta (OH-05), Weber (TX-14), Bishop (UT-01), Stewart (UT-02), Comer (KY-01), Womack (AR-03), Palmer (AL-06), Scott (GA-08), Guthrie (KY-02), Collins (GA-09), McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Gibbs (OH-07), Buck (CO-04)
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SUPPRESSOR ASSOCIATION
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is the unified voice of the suppressor industry. Our mission is to unite and advocate for the common interests of the suppressor community. To accomplish our mission, our principal initiatives focus on state lobbying, federal lobbying, public education, and industry outreach.
For more information on the Hearing Protection Act, visit www.HearingProtectionAct.com.