A bill has been introduced in the new Congress that has gun owners, the NRA and many silencer manufacturers excited. The Hearing Protection Act has been reintroduced to the new congress.
The new bill would remove restrictions on the purchase of silencers (aka suppressors) for firearms. The devices, which lower, but do not silence, the sound of a gunshot, are being presented as safety devices in the new bill.
The bill would remove the $200 tax, lengthy paperwork, and up to a nine month wait time and treat silencers as any other firearm purchase that can be completed nearly instantly in most states.
“I’ve been shooting since I was a young child – beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my Dad,” said Duncan in a statement, acknowledging his hearing has been damaged because of gun noise over the years. “Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss.”
“It just doesn’t make any sense to regulate suppressors the way we do presently,” he said. “I think it certainly is questionable from a constitutional standpoint. It’s striking that even Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has no restrictions on suppressors.”
The NRA released the following statement on the bill:
“Many gun owners and sportsmen suffer severe hearing loss after years of shooting, and yet the tool necessary to reduce such loss is onerously regulated and taxed. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act would allow people easier access to suppressors, which would help them to better protect their hearing.”
The Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 367, would remove suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act, replacing the federal transfer process with a National Instant Criminal Background Check. The bill would reduce the cost of purchasing a suppressor by removing the $200 transfer tax.
Suppressors are often mischaracterized in Hollywood. They do not “silence” the sound of a firearm. Instead, they act as mufflers and can reduce the noise of a gunshot to hearing safe levels. Not only do suppressors reduce hearing damage for the shooter, they reduce the noise of ranges located near residential areas.
“Although we recognize that introducing this bill is the first step in what will be a lengthy process to change federal law, we look forward to working on the Duncan-Carter bill, alongside the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation to advance and ultimately enact this common-sense legislation,” said Knox Williams, president and executive director of the American Suppressor Association, who noted “citizens should not have to pay a tax to protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
The bill has good odds to pass this session with a Republican controlled House, Senate and White House. It is currently waiting to be assigned to a committee.