Remember the Hearing Protection Act? The first one? That was in The Time Before, back in 2017 when gun owners had visions of not only freeing suppressors from the National Firearms Act’s clutches, but also (gasp) maybe even national reciprocity.
Both of those ideas fell victim to politicians who never had an interest in making them happen, and jelly-like spines following the congressional baseball shooting. But that doesn’t mean treating suppressors like the common sense safety devices they are is any less a good idea today than it was four years ago.
And no, the current incarnation of the bill doesn’t have a ice cube’s chance in hell of coming up for a vote, let alone passing in the current political climate. But the gun rights side didn’t get to 50 states with (some form of) legal concealed carry and 21 with constitutional carry without navigating some setbacks. Anyway, another incarnation of the Hearing Protection Act has been introduced in both the House and the Senate and the NSSF would like to dish out some credit where it’s due . . .
The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearm industry trade association, proudly welcomes U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s (R-Idaho) reintroduction of the Hearing Protection Act. The legislation, S. 2050, is co-sponsored by 14 additional senators, all who endorse the legislation that would provide greater access to the firearm safety devices by regulating them in the same manner as a firearm.
“This legislation to remove burdensome regulations surrounding an accessory to a firearm is long overdue. The firearm industry is grateful to Senator Crapo for his continued leadership to enable safer recreational shooting and hunting to be more accessible to law-abiding gun owners,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Hearing Protection Act would reduce unnecessary barriers to what is essentially a muffler for a firearm that enables more accurate marksmanship and allows shooting ranges to be better neighbors. Suppressors were originally listed under the National Firearms Act over poaching concerns during the Great Depression, but that never bore out. They reduce the report of a firearm from a level equal to a jet taking off to one similar to that of a jackhammer. Firearm suppressors are a safety device designed to make recreational shooting safer.”
The Hearing Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. Crapo in previous Congressional sessions, would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like traditional firearms by removing them from the 1934 National Firearms Act. That would cease the overly-burdensome federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, making the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to the process for a rifle or shotgun. The legislation would also tax suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the National Firearms Act, putting more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies.
The Hearing Protection Act would not change any laws in states that already prevent suppressor use or ownership, nor does it eliminate background check requirements. Suppressors are legal to own in 42 states and 40 states allow them for hunting. Similar legislation, H.R. 95, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.).