I recently stopped by my friendly neighborhood silencer dealer to pick up a couple of T&E guns. Normally, Capitol Armory‘s lobby is packed tight. In the hour or so that I hung around, I saw one other customer. I asked Torrey, the owner, what was up with the low traffic. “The Hearing Protection Act has everyone hanging back,” he replied.
Given what Schoolhouse Rock had taught me about our labyrinthine legislative and executive branches, I found this confusing. Democrats will do their damnedest to derail the HPA, screaming about stealthy supremacists and hunters wandering into the path of fellow hunters. And while the incoming Administration will be stuffed with Second Amendment supporters, Trump is Trump, a man who’s deal-making prowess is based on the art of compromise (i.e. surrender).
No matter how you slice it, the HPA is not a done deal.
All of which makes the current silencer situation a terrific opportunity for a straddle — an options strategy where a savvy investor buys put and call options to profit off the rise or fall in an investment’s value. Think of it this way . . .
If you buy a can today, five weeks from now you’ll be five weeks into your 32-week wait. If Congress drags their collective feet on the HPA, if President Trump suddenly discovers other priorities (squirrel!), if something else sabotages the HPA, you’ll be deep into your regularly scheduled wait time. You win.
If the HPA passes sometime before 32 weeks from today and becomes active immediately upon passage, you can go out and buy a new silencer or wait a few weeks and take delivery of your tax-stamped silencer, or both. You still win. Perhaps more so . . .
Sensibly enough, the silencer industry isn’t making significant investments in new tooling, hiring or building space until the ink is dry on the HPA. When the inevitable post-HPA run on silencers begins, buyers will be looking at a limited selection and the possibility of increased prices (supply vs. demand and all that).
Buy a silencer now and you’ll get the exact model you want at the best possible price. And here’s the kicker: the HPA as currently written instructs Uncle Sam to refund the $200 tax paid on silencers purchased after October 22, 2015. Is not losing equal winning? In this case, yes.
The only real downside to buying a silencer now: the time and hassle of filling out the application. If that doesn’t put you off, there’s never been a better time to buy a silencer. What are you waiting for?