One of the two main priorities for gun rights advocates (along with national concealed carry reciprocity) under the Trump administration has been passage of the Hearing Protection Act; removing suppressors from National Firearms Act regulation, delays and fees. The HPA seemed to be the easier bill to pass, low-hanging legislative fruit as it were. But it’s been almost five months – five whole months! – since inauguration and we’ve heard little about any legislative progress on the issue. Until now.

The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing tomorrow on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreation Enhancement Act. Sounds like a snoozer, right? Not so much any more. And that’s because the bill now includes virtually all of the the HPA’s most important provisions.

Cue the requisite media hysteria:

One year since the deadly Pulse Nightclub shooting that killed 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, House Republicans are considering a bill that could make firearms even deadlier.

On Wednesday, House Republicans will hold a hearing on the Sportsmen’s Heritage And Recreational Enhancement — or SHARE — Act, a relatively noncontroversial bill that deals with federal land laws. But buried in the Republican version of the bill is a provision that would remove certain key regulations on gun silencers, devices that mute the sound of gunfire.

Advocates say that the legislation would make it easier for dangerous people to purchase silencers by removing background check requirements and that it would destroy existing federal records of silencer purchases.

Yes, well those “advocates” are the same people who have been braying about road rage shoot-outs and blood running in the streets as gun control laws have fallen in state after state. We’ve moved from the bad old days of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and Clinton’s “assault weapons” ban to today’s world of 50-state concealed carry and 13 states with constitutional carry and more on the way…all while violent crime rates have fallen to historic lows.

Here’s the American Suppressor Association’s press release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing for the morning of June 14, in which the Federal Lands Subcommittee will hear a discussion draft of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act. The SHARE Act, which is being championed in a bipartisan manner by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chairs Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Representative Gene Green (D-TX), is a comprehensive package that covers a wide range of hunting, fishing, and outdoor related issues. Included in the legislation is Title XVII, a strengthened version of the Hearing Protection Act.

Since the re-introduction of the Hearing Protection Act by Rep. Duncan and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) in January (H.R. 367S. 59) the American Suppressor Association (ASA) has met with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on multiple occasions to discuss technical amendments to the language. As a result, we were able to create several technical amendments that were incorporated into the current draft of the SHARE Act. These include:

Sec. 1702: Removing suppressors from the National Firearms Act, subjecting them to the same instant NICS background check as long guns, and issuing a refundable tax credit to anyone who has purchased a suppressor since the HPA’s original date of introduction

Sec. 1703: Ensuring that suppressors will remain legal in all 42 states where they are currently legal, after suppressors are removed from the National Firearms Act

Sec. 1704: Preempting states from levying taxes or registration requirements on suppressors. However, this will not make suppressors legal in any state where state law currently prohibits them.

Sec. 1705: Granting the ATF 365 days to destroy all suppressor related records from the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR)

Sec. 1706: Developing a “keystone part” definition, and requiring that such keystone part is serialized on every suppressor. This will ensure that individual suppressor parts, like pistons and endcaps, will not require serialization.

Sec. 1707: Imposing a 10% Pittman-Robertson excise tax on the manufacture of each new suppressor, a tax that is currently imposed on all Title I firearms

“The inclusion of the Hearing Protection Act in the sportsmen’s package highlights the commitment of the Sportsmen’s Caucus to make the hunting and recreational shooting experiences safer and more enjoyable for all,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “We know for a fact that exposure to noise from recreational firearms is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, which is why the CDC, NIOSH, and the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) have all recommended using suppressors as a tool to mitigate the danger. We look forward to working with the Sportsmen’s Caucus to make this legislation a reality.”

Suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. Currently, prospective buyers must live in one of the 42 states where they are legal, must send in an application including fingerprints and passport photos to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax, and wait for an indeterminate amount of time for the ATF to process the application. As of June, 2017, wait times are in excess of 10 months. In stark contrast, many countries in Europe place no regulations on their purchase, possession, or use. This legislation will 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.

To voice your support for the Hearing Protection Act, visit www.HearingProtectionAct.com.

 

 

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90 Responses to BREAKING: Hearing Protection Act Provisions Added to Larger Natural Resources Bill, Hearing Tomorrow

    • Me too. But I worry that if the bill is not passed in full sunlight there will be an outcry large enough to make things worse.

      Blindsiding the antis, while fun, does have its hazards.

      • Blindsided? If they can read, they are not being blindsided.
        And their leadership can read, and is already being vocal about this.
        No, no blindsiding here.
        This is a very common action, often done by both sides; adding an amendment to a popular or necessary bill to get something else passed.
        There have even been amendments that struck the entire language of the original bill and replaced it with something else, but retaining the original bill’s name.

    • If a silencer “mutes the sound of a firearm” how do you know if was fired? hmmmm…..

      What a bunch of morons. Mute, lol

  1. Now we can’t hear the criminals when they shoot people… The lamest thing that Gifford and company have claimed about the HPA…

    • I know! Police will be powerless to stop mass shooters, who will now be able to move in absolute silence and disappear without a trace. Anyone who owns a gun will instantly become a deadly assassin. Americans must be stopped from possessing this deadly piece of high technology!

      • “House Republicans are considering a bill that could make firearms even deadlier.”

        A gun that’s deadlier?!?! Wow. Sign me up.

        I’ll store it in my car that’s fastier.

        • “I’ll store it in my car that’s fastier.”

          You’ve got a dodge demon? Sweet that car is fastier, and more dangerouser than other production cars that are admittedly both faster and more powerful

        • “You’ve got a dodge demon? Sweet that car is fastier, and more dangerouser than other production cars that are admittedly both faster and more powerful”

          There’s fast and there’s quick.
          There are no production cars available in the US that are quicker than the Demon.
          More powerful is easier, all it takes is money. Faster is also easy; again, all you need is money, to either buy such car$, or money to build them.
          But quicker? Sure, but not production. Again, it takes money to add the power.

        • Just think how many lives could have been saved if the Pulse shooter had a silencer. You may be on to something here.

    • Oh no, the “silencers” are coming, the “silencers” are coming! We’re doomed, DOOMED, I tell you!

      Unless we pull out of retirement or interment Magnum, P.I., Remington Steele, Simon & Simon, Spenser, the A-Team, Jake and/or the Fatman…..who oh who will protect us from 1980s primetime detective show assassins?

      • Spenser! I didn’t watch those other shows, but I do remember Spenser For Hire. With Spenser and Hawk and their badass revolvers on our side, how could we go wrong?

    • I wish there were a silencer for Giffords and company. So we couldn’t hear them when they shoot off their mouths.

  2. Holy crap, they’re so blinded by silencers they don’t even mention the fix to FOPA or the sporting purposes clause, which have far wider impact

  3. Fun fact; since introduction, HPA has been among the top ten most-viewed bills on congress. gov website, usually in the top three. Totally a niche issue.

    • While this bill is one of the things I’m most excited about, I haven’t viewed ANY bills on that site and I’m pretty politically active. I actually do think this is still a niche issue, and that statistic by itself actually doesn’t say anything about that.

      • I don’t speak legalese, but it looks like the bill doesn’t make suppressors legal in states that currently ban them. It just removes the burdens of complying with the tax stamp and associated nonsense.

        • As someone who does speak legalese, you are correct. The law basically removes silencers from the NFA and makes them guns. It only preempts laws that require you to comply with the NFA to own a silencer in that state. For example, silencers are legal in state X if you have a tax stamp. That law is preempted and you would be able to own the silencer without a tax stamp.

      • It makes no change to states’ ability to outlaw them. If they are illegal now, they will still be illegal.

        But overall this looks like a great bill and a big move forward for 2A.

      • It will preempt the 42 states where suppressors are legal and prevents states from adding further restrictions and taxes on them. If this does pass too suppressors will be subject to the same federal tax that is applied to pistols and revolvers which is at 10%.

  4. If the Antis really wanted to stir things up, they could demand that all firearms be required to be suppressor equipped at all times.

    • Don Beyer – D(VA)? yeah right. that [EXPLETIVE DELETED] progressive [QUESTIONABLE MORALITY] in northern Virginia’s [ODD REFERENCE TO WATER FOWL ANATOMY] wouldn’t consider decreasing firearms regulations if his [INDECIPHERABLE] hide depended on it.

  5. Doesn’t help any of us here in Rhode Island, where suppressors are illegal by state law, thanks to the brain-dead idiots in the General Assembly who get their factual backup from Hollywood spy movies instead of reality. What *should* be illegal is being as stupid as a toilet bowl full of rusty hammers, like they are. Let’s see, 42 states allow suppressors – so that means . . . um, 57 – 42 = 15 states that don’t.

    At least using Obamarithmetic . . .

    So RI is one of only 8 cretin-led states in the union who think deafness is preferable to quiet woods during hunting season. Makes sense – to a General Assembly that is itself deaf to the voice of reason. And what would you expect from the state that elected Seldom Righthouse to the US Senate? Now let’s go out there and arrest those “climate deniers”, Seldom! Yessir – we’ll bring back Stalinism if it takes all the taxpayers in Rhode Island to do so.

    If only we could suppress Seldom . . .

    You can’t fix stupid. Or willfullly deaf.

  6. Here’s how we get this passed:
    The SHARE act (or HPA, whichever is being discussed) makes suppressors subject to the same strict scrutiny and thorough background checking system as EVIL, SEMI-AUTOMATIC ASSAULT WEAPONS! Pass the SHARE act, for the children(‘s ears)!

  7. Did you know that most states REQUIRE mufflers, which make cars even deadlier?
    And that they force you to have your car inspected regularly, and your car can’t pass inspection without a muffler?
    The end of the world is near, I tell you…

    • The muffler argument works for standard cars but for electric cars they want to actually make them louder, or have an artificial “car engine sound” at least at low speeds, so pedestrians, walking-texters, blind people, pets and wildlife don’t get whacked by a Prius.

      I guess this means our rail guns and phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range will require noise generators to make a “pfft pfft” to at least sound like a suppressed Glock. So as to not confuse the deer. Or home invaders.

      • The solution is not to make things louder but to PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings with whatever senses you have.

      • Are they requiring noise makers be added to bikes and big wheels?
        I mean, if it saves one child’s life, we should make it mandatory, right?

    • All of my knives are equipped with silencers as well. I think they (and machetes) come standard that way.

  8. If HPA or SHARE get passed, what affect will it have on someone attempting to make their own silencer at home? Will it be treated like a firearm and be okay so long as it isn’t intended for sale? Or will it be as illegal as it currently is if you make one without sending out the forms and money?

    • The HPA language made it sound like they would behave like title 1 firearms if bought from an FFL but still act like title 2 if transferred privately. That seems confusing to me. Share seems to imply they are totally removed from the NFA, and become regular title 1 firearms, so I guess we could shred any stamps.

    • My understanding is that for personal use, you’d be able to manufacture yourself, just like any other home built, unregulated firearm. Can’t sell or gift them to anyone, though.

    • Let me preface with I don’t speak legal mumbojumbo

      Based on the release quoted there is a single serialized piece that would be the “silencer” and the other parts are not. To me that sounds like an AR lower vs upper. So you can do whatever, whenever you want with the other parts just need to buy that one serialized piece.

      Which would be cool because you can buy just the adapter and buy other parts that screw in.

    • You should be able to make one just like you can make a gun. That said, you never know what changes will be made during the legislative process, so don’t just accept the advice of some asshole on the internet claiming to be a lawyer if/when this passes.

  9. Everyone has their own agenda. My primary objective is National Reciprocity. But if the HPA passes, we will finally start seeing what I’m really interested in, stand alone integrally suppressed barrels with an OAL of 16″. That way, I can buy my barrels for my own builds. No stamp guns for 300blk and 556.

    • National reciprocity is a bigger deal. It’s a more important step in the fight. Especially the House version which does way more than most people say it does. That said, it won’t really effect me that much. My relatives all live in pretty gun friendly states. I don’t really go to any state that I can’t carry in anyway. Personally, HPA effects me much more, and I’m interested in the same thing as you. Integrally suppressed 300 would be sweet.

    • You’re going to find a lot of opposition to that, even within the gun community. It is the one tax that actually works the way taxes are supposed to.

        • But nevertheless unconstitutional via the logic of Star Tribune v. Commissioner.

          A tax on the means of a constitutionally protected right (in this case newspaper ink) is unconstitutional.

        • Mark is correct. I would like to see the legal argument that a tax on the 2A is ok if it supports the 2A. The liberal argument would be the typical “but guns” reasoning.

          EDIT: the tax Mark mentions was on ink and paper if I remember correctly. The tax was on large quantities used in publication.

  10. Progress is good, but how is it a good idea to further cement and codifying suppressors as firearms under Title I? Why should a suppressor be taxed 10% under Pittman-Robertson like it’s a rifle? Suppressors are not guns, they’re accessories.

    What happens when we don’t have Trump in office and the next President also wants to treat magazines or scopes as Title I firearms which are subject to a background check? Now they will have the precedent to do so.

    We need to treat suppressors as accessories and nothing else. I hope they amend this bill.

    • Well considering silencers are currently equivalent to short barreled rifles, shotguns, aow, and almost as bad as grenade launchers (but not destructive) and machine guns (no Hughes Amendment) I guess downgrading to a “firearm” is a first step, though I agree that they aren’t firearms and shouldn’t be treated as such. Though maybe if more readily available common sense would dictate they aren’t so bad and could just be treated as an accessory? Not likely.

      Considering the anti-secondA crowd wants to register all guns, ban evil looking guns, restrict mags, purchases, etc I don’t think they need a precedent, they will still oppose everything incessantly regardless of whether silencers become firearms or accessories or instant approval NFA devices.

    • A 10% Pittman excise tax on a suppressor (which ultimately benefits game species and sportsmen), with a 10 minute 4473 / NICS transfer beats 20%-100% NFA tax, paperwork, fingerprint, photo, trust hassle, and 9-12 month wait by a gazillion percent. Yeah, sure we’d all love these to have the same legal status of any other lump of metal. This isn’t just ‘progress’. It’s a figgin paradigm shift undoing over 80 years of injustice to the firearms community.

    • While precedent matters in courts, in the legislative branch, precedent is no more than tradition.

  11. I’ve started waving the “harder-to-conceal” and “how many would still be alive?” bloody shirt to support liberalizing our suppressor laws. It’s a dirty feeling like wading into a green tide.

  12. The House will pass the HPA, and the RINO-led Senate will fold up like a cheap suitcase.

    McConnell and Graham should both be suppressed.

    • Yeah, that’s why I’m not holding my breath. Well that and I don’t think outside of a few, most elected officials at the federal level have not shown any desire to restore rights or reduce the reach of government (see the AHCA “repeal” for example).

  13. That press release is one impressive piece of propaganda! It starts off trying to link suppressors with a terrorist attack (Pulse Nightclub) and create a negative association in readers’ minds.

    Then the press release flat-out lies when it calls suppressors “silencers” and states that suppressors “mute the sound of gunfire”. They clearly chose words that give readers the mistaken impression that firearms will be silent with suppressors. They will NOT. Firearms (with the exception of sub-sonic .22 LR) are still LOUD with suppressors … so loud that you will still suffer permanent hearing loss if you shoot a lot without hearing protection in addition to your suppressor.

    Whoever word-crafted that press release could command a nice salary at Pravda.

  14. “Advocates say that the legislation would make it easier for dangerous people to purchase silencers by removing background check requirements and that it would destroy existing federal records of silencer purchases.”

    that first point is obviously a lie. purchasers would still have to pass a NICS.

    but that second point is just dangerous and further supports my contention that “progressive” = government registration list.

  15. Harder for cops to pinpoint the shooter? LOL. Funny that they’re using the Pulse massacre as their reason against the HPA. All out UNSUPPRESSED “assault rifle” mayhem and it took HOURS for the cops to make a move anyway.

    • Come on, man, don’t be so heartless.

      We don’t want the sheep to die with a ringing in their ears. And do you really want to condemn the survivors to a lifetime of PTSD and tinnitus? You monster! (Wait…what am I arguing for here? I’m confused.)

  16. Hmmm I lust for a 6.5 to slap on my .243 by the fall.

    We’ll have to see what happens. So far, under the Trump administration the House has passed 159 bills which all are languishing in the Senate because of Democrat stall tactics. Tactics like not showing up to committee meetings after lunch to prevent the committee from having a quorum.

  17. I’ve been trying to find the SHARE act on congress .gov but the only bill I’m finding by that name is a senate bill introduced by a senator from Alaska. And that bill doesn’t have any HPA provisions in it. In this article it says the bill is being championed in a bipartisan manner by Jeff duncan (R-sc) and gene green (D-tx) but I can’t find any legislation from either of them that goes by the name SHARE act. Are we being bamboozled ? I think so. In fact of all the articles I’ve read today on this matter I’ve yet to find one article that actually has a link to this bill.

  18. This is just an introduction, correct? They’re just reading and deciding if they’re going to vote on it? It must leave the committee tomorrow, then be voted through House and Senate, then signed? Just making sure I understand the entire process and what this actually means for tomorrow.

    • You are correct. This is a committee hearing, and most bills die in committee. It needs to be voted out of committee before the House can consider it.

      • Do we have the votes in that committee to move it to the House?

        EDIT – It sure looks like we have the votes:

        “The House Committee on Natural Resources membership consists of 43 Representatives, 25 Republicans and 18 Democrats, listed in order of seniority.”

        https://naturalresources.house.gov/about/members.htm

        25 R votes to 18 D votes.

        He have a solid shot of moving it forward. 🙂

        • If it does move forward, how long until it is actually voted on? If passed from there, how long until it goes into effect?

  19. It’s not worth it. It’s just bait to get conservatives to vote Yes on a bill that will neuter the EPA, clean water and air acts and parce out public land.

    A gun isn’t much use when you can’t breathe.

  20. Progressives: We NEED more gun safety laws! Guns MUST be made safer!

    Libertarian: Hey, I’ve got this new law that will help reduce hearing loss for thousands of gun users across the nation.

    Progressive: REEEEEEEEEEEEE!

  21. Disclaimer: I didn’t read ALL the comments so please excuse me if this has already been covered.

    While the Silencer/Suppressor mutes the “report” of the firearm, it does nothing to mute the sound of the round going supersonic through the air. Less then supersonic rounds are just about useless and most people don’t even know about this little fact, so we should be able to toss that out of the way.

    The benefits of protecting children while they target practice and still are able to hear normal voices is priceless. I have a lot of hearing loss due to unprotected shooting while in the Marines and suppressors would have made a world of difference. I live right up against the national forest and the ability to be able to go out and target practice without irritating my neighbors too much, is, to me, a God send.

    Silencers/Suppressors make no one invisible, but it will help in the hearing protecting without sacrificing normal sounds.

  22. This bill would do a lot more than silencers. It would also prevent banning lead ammunition and fishing equipment on federal land if it was legal elsewhere in the state, do a lot to promote hunting on public land, limit the ATF’s discretion on a lot things like shotguns and “armor piercing” ammo, the FOPA fix. It also does a lot of other stuff too.

  23. Well the vote on the SHARE Act was cancelled “until further notice”. Guess I’ll have to accept the fact that Form 4 transfers are upwards of a year wait currently.

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