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Let’s say you’ve been living under a rock. Let’s also you’ve been there since November 8, 2016. You might have missed out on the fact that, 1) Donald Trump was elected president of these United States and 2) everyone and their mom declared the Hearing Protection Act to be a done deal.

The Hearing Protection Act, in case that rock kept you from getting the news, is a bill that has been introduced and is currently sitting in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. And if you’ve ever watched Schoolhouse Rock, you know that being in a subcommittee is not the same as being a law.

The endless cheerleading for the bill by the ASA and several manufacturers has led to the common refrain of, “I’m waiting for HPA to pass” which has effectively killed off any and all demand in the consumer market. Every company, dealer, and industry source I’ve spoken with has indicated that things are slow. Really slow.

So slow, in fact, that SilencerCo has laid off a sizable number of employees. Manufacturers are offering great rebates, and dealers are finally catching up on organizing their baseball card collections.

Even Hitler found out about it, and whoever captioned this Downfall scene did a masterful job of pointing out exactly who is to blame. And it’s a really great way to start the weekend.

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  1. HPA may not be a done deal, but certainly isn’t dead yet. Unless I’ve missed something big in the last few days I still think there is reason to be hopeful. The call for people to contact their reps in support is good, though.

  2. IMHO, part of it is the HPA but the HPA has gained a lot of meaning to a certain segment of the population that has an interest in buying a can or another can due to the rule changes at the ATF regarding NFA trusts.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one in this boat:

    I’d love to slap a suppressor on my Rem 700 SPS since it came with a threaded barrel. I’d prefer to do that sooner rather than later so that I can shoot that rifle suppressed at a competition this fall. However, I’m waiting. Why?

    Because I need the can by late September. Now, if the HPA passes in the next six months maybe I can get a can during the buying frenzy that results. If, OTOH, I want to work on getting one now I have to significantly alter my trust to avoid being a huge pain in the ass to my family or buy it as a single person which defeats the entire fucking point of having the trust in the first place. Regardless of which way I choose to go the chances that the Form 4 would be approved by September are pretty much 0.00%.

    What’s the point in buying something now and going through all the paperwork and bullshit when I know that unless the HPA passes I won’t see the thing in time to use it for my selected application? If the HPA passes my trust becomes vestigial, but if the HPA doesn’t become law then I pay to alter the trust, don’t get the can in time and then have to pay to alter the trust again OR I have to buy it as an individual, still don’t get it approved in time and now I have an item that should be on my trust but isn’t which necessitates the same work as before and another tax stamp (as I understand it) approval for the transfer from me to the trust.

    And so I wait because why not? I don’t really need this thing that badly, though it would be nice, and without the HPA I don’t get it in time to use it anyway. Without the HPA I spend a bunch of money basically unnecessarily no matter what route I go and if the HPA does pass then I just wasted a bunch of money on altering a trust that no longer serves a purpose. Without the HPA there’s no “winning” here so why would I plunk down any money on a guaranteed loss?

    • Could you trust have been drawn up in the first place to make NFA transfers not an expensive PITA proposition?

      • Yes, it could have been drawn up in a way that was solely meant to exploit the old rules and thereby avoid fingerprinting and all that jazz. That would have been simple enough.

        While that feature was kind of a nice bonus in the past that’s not what I wanted the trust for. Mine was drawn up very specifically to avoid legal problems for other people in my family that could arise from their illegal possession of an NFA item and for the possibility of inheritance in the event of my untimely demise. So, for example, what I was thinking when I initially set it up: were I to be deployed overseas I could leave my stuff with my parents and not worry that one or both of them could end up with a federal crime attached to their name over it. Further, if my dad wanted to play with any of it while I was gone he would be legally able to do so. Later this line of thought extended to my wife.

        The legality of allowing your wife, or other family member, access to a safe that contains NFA stuff is murky as far as I can tell. While I am not aware of any cases brought against someone for a violation of this type I don’t want to be the guy who sets that precedent. When I’ve had occasion to query the ATF about this I have never received a straight answer. Therefore I look at it this way: People have been charged for having a gun in the house when a spouse or other family member was a prohibited person because the prohibited person “had access” to the firearm even if they never actually touched it. Possession of this type is kind of stupid but it’s similar to a passenger dropping a bag of dope in your back seat. It’s in your car, it’s your dope unless the other person owns up to it being theirs. I see no reason the ATF can’t use that precedent as a cudgel to swing at otherwise law abiding NFA item possessing citizens.

  3. The HPA is a stupid way to deal with a stupid law and stupid agencies. Instead of fighting the NFA at face value we’re all supposed to pretend like it’s about hearing protection? Fuck off, actual hearing protection is cheap and readily available. Is there a even a can on the market that can bring my rifle report under 120dB? Even if there was, it really doesn’t matter because you’d still be accepting the premise that the NFA is good, right an lawful.

    • “Shall Issue” licenses became a thing and civilization didn’t end.
      The Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire and civilization didn’t end.
      Open Carry swept (most) of the country and civilization didn’t end.
      Constitutional Carry is spreading across the fruited plain and civilization shows no sign of ending.
      Incrementalism worked for decades to erode our civil rights – it’s no wonder restoring them would also require it.

      • bLoving, I know we are on the same side of the gun rights debate but that is a poor arguement. The world only ends once and with cataclysmic forces incomprehensible. Doing things like this only acquiesces to the power of government. The fact of the matter is that government should have no say. How long do you want to address the symptoms of totalitarian government before you decide your progeny has do the surgery to remove the disease?

        How much say do you think a relatively small number of people should have in your life? Are you so afraid of freedom?

        Remember this: if you allow the goverment to decide what you can have, eventually the pendulum swings and you will see a government deciding what you can’t have.

        • We got to where we are now thanks to a Saul Alinsky (Author of ‘Rules for Radicals, considered by many Progressives as their political Canon) tactic known as ‘Nudge’.

          Take very tiny steps to get to where politically you want to be, in the case of Progressives, their goal is a *total* civilian ban on firearm ownership.

          One example is firearm registration. They will bald-faced lie to your face and tell you that’s all they want to do, of course you can keep your registered weapons. Of course, the law makes possession of a non-registered weapon a *felony*.

          Guns now registered, the next step is a ban on ownership, and since they have the registration records, they know where to go to get them.

          The first step they took in registration sounded perfectly reasonable, after all, they told you no one would ever confiscate a legally registered gun.

          That’s ‘nudge’, tiny reasonable sounding steps to set the stage for the end goal of confiscation.

          Abolishing the 1930’s NFA outright is too tough to get right now, but we can ‘nudge’ with suppressors, and when no ‘rivers of blood’ come to pass, work on legalizing SBRs. When nothing bad happens, re-open the full-auto registry.

          They chiseled away our rights, bit by bit. Let’s use their own Alinsky playbook against them and get our rights restored…

          (Just the tip, dear…)

    • “If you need to climb a hill, don’t attack it at the bottom. It’s a lot bigger than you are. Hike it until you can see the top. THEN run. That’s how you beat a mountain.” – Harry Groves, Penn State XC Coach.

  4. Even if the HPA was passed, I still don’t have an interest in owning a suppressor at the present time. Besides, my state bans all civilian ownership of NFA stuff, including suppressors.

    • In my case, if the HPA passed, suppressors would become illegal in my state. I know there was preemption language in it but there’s a lot of talk that that part of it likely wouldn’t survive.

      Some states require a tax stamp to make possession not a felony on the state level. I suppose my existing suppressors would remain legal but I couldn’t get another one.

      The HPA would actually *reduce* the number of states that suppressors are legal in. A few people would cheer because hey no more wait, no tax stamp, screw everyone else.

      Never mind that I don’t think it’ll pass anyways. But I know everyone seems to think it’s their early Christmas gift that’s on the way… I’m not staying up to wait for Santa.

      I’d love to see the Hughes amendment repealed, but that’s a unicorn too.

      Oh well. The “I’m waiting for the HPA!” crowd not being in the system should hopefully shorten wait times eventually. Hopefully. The pre 41P/R surge is what’s killing the industry… 9-12 months is just too damn long.

      • “The HPA would actually *reduce* the number of states that suppressors are legal”
        I’m interested in which states that would be the case. Can you give your opinion on the states that the HPA would cause suppressors to become illegal?

      • “The HPA would actually *reduce* the number of states that suppressors are legal”
        I’m interested in which states that would be the case. Can you give your opinion on the states that the HPA would cause suppressors to become illegal?

    • The NRA is to gun rights what John McCain is to conservative politics. Lots of patriotic imagery combined with a lukewarm defense.

      • Yeah, I especially liked this line from that article…”Thanks to lobbying from the NRA and others, a lot of states have legalized suppressors in recent legislative sessions.”
        Toot their own horn much? What I also noticed was a distinct lack of outrage (tonal or otherwise) to the tune of something like “….We need to stop this unnecessary taxing and delaying of our countrymens second amendment rights…” etc. Instead they just tell you how to comply with current ass backwards form 4 crap and at the end urge you to call your congressman…you know, the ones who have mindless inturns taking messages they never get. What a crap system we got sold.

        • So, they told you to write your Congresscritter to change the law, and you complain that they didn’t tell you to fight the law?

          “Sir…Steiner….he watched Schoolhouse Rock. That’s not…it’s not how a bill becomes law, Sir.”

          By the way, you’re correct, don’t call. Snail mail gets attention. Takes weeks to get through security, but it gets read.

      • After 83 years the NRA is finally showing some “love” for repealing a small part of one of the most restrictive pieces of gun control legislation ever enacted ? The same NRA that, under Karl Frederick, fully advocated for the passage of the NFA of ’34 to begin with ?

        The NRA is an organization that is run by wealthy FUDDS and country club Republicans. They are a true friend of the 2’nd Amendment when they aren’t actually attacking it.

  5. Trump should legalize suppressors by executive order. He can instruct the BATF to pass a rule defining a silencer as a device that brings the sound of a fire arm below the 5 Db threshold. This would effectively take them off the NFA.

    • And suddenly make them unobtainable in any legal manner in the (many, not just “slave”) states where they are only legal via affirmative defense or defense to prosecution via tax stamp.

        • A number of states where suppressors are permitted phrase their laws like this:

          Suppressors are illegal, and are a felony to possess. HOWEVER: If an individual has explicit permission or a permit from the federal government, this shall be seen as an affirmative defense against prosecution.

          This means that on their face, they are illegal – however the tax stamp (“permit”) shields the possessor from prosecution.

          These states include (mine) Colorado; and as far as I know Tennessee, and until very recently (and it still may be the case – I believe it was _reworded_ last year but the Affirmative Defense clause was not eliminated) the firearms panacea of Texas.

          That’s an abbreviated list, there are more.

          If the HPA went into effect, one *could not* obtain a “permit” (tax stamp) for a suppressor as they would no longer be NFA items. So in those states where the NFA tax stamp is an affirmative defense to their illegality, they would simply be illegal.

          (Unless you had gotten a tax stamp during the period where they were NFA items. Existing suppressors wouldn’t become illegal; you just wouldn’t be able to get new ones. Ever.)

          There is some language in one of the versions of the HPA (Senate or House, i’m not sure) which states that the HPA would pre-empt all state laws that declared them illegal or requiring a tax stamp, but the ability of that to stand constitutionality likely wouldn’t fly. Note that the HPA isn’t advertising itself as a law that would make suppressors legal in states they’re outright banned in.

          If the HPA were to pass it would be up to each individual Affirmative Defense / Defense to Prosecution state to rewrite their laws to make suppressors simply legal, removing the “At first glance, they are illegal, HOWEVER” language.

          This may happen in some places. In others, they’d simply become illegal without a stamp, and remain that way.

          A way around this, possibly, would be to add language to the HPA to provide for the fedgov to establish a method to simply write and apply for a simple permit, that could be “shall issue”, but I think we all know that under future administrations that could possibly be gated and misused.

          Unintended consequences. I’m sure there’s probably a legal way around it that could be thought up, but the existing approach is tenuous (and some pro-gun lawyers have said so), and the situation would at the very least end up in the various state and local courts for years; with FFLs unlikely to be willing to handle suppressors in Affirmative Defense / Defense to Prosecution states.

        • You raise a valid point, however I would point out that another affirmative defense in Colorado, when it comes to possession of a silencer is “Lack of intent”.

          Unless the state can prove you intended to commit or did commit another crime with the silencer you have an affirmative defense according to the CRS.

  6. The NFATCA is to blame. People bought suppressors in mass before the deadline. The group should be boycotted and disbanded.

  7. Whether HPA passes or not, I’d love to get a silencer. Unfortunately for Silencerco et al., it’s waaaaaayyyy down there on my priority list. It’s simply not something I urgently need. All these arguments about silencers supposedly being overpriced, HPA not being a done deal, and all the others…. they simply don’t change the fact that I won’t be buying one just yet.

  8. People close to Trump have recently stated that off camera Trump acts exactly as Hitler did in conference. He screams, yells, uses profanity and loses complete control of himself. He conversation with the Prime Minister of Australia followed the same rants and screaming about the refugees America had agreed to take that have been marooned on the Island of New Guinea. It was said the Prime Minister stated “And this Madman has his finger on the Nuclear Button? God help us all”.

    • Trump ranting and raving seems quite possible to me. However, what would you have me do about it? And secondly, Trump could rape a puppy everyday and still be infinitely superior to the evil hag he defeated. She is pure evil.

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