Tennessee Hearing Protection Act Signed by Governor Haslam

The Tennessee Hearing Protection Act was signed by Governor Bill Haslam earlier this month and becomes effective on July 1. The act eliminates the ban on the ownership of gun mufflers/silencers/suppressors by the State of Tennessee. SB0921 or Tennessee Hearing Protection Act (HPA) was popular in the legislature, passing in the Senate 28-1 and 74-18 in the House.

The bill took a straightforward approach to reform of Tennessee’s silencer regulation, removing the archaic restrictions.

From legiscan.com:

As introduced, enacts the “Tennessee Hearing Protection Act,” which deletes the prohibition on possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of a firearm silencer. – Amends TCA Section 39-17-1301 and Section 39-17-1302.

From justia.com:
TCA Section 39-17-1301

(5) “Firearm silencer” means any device designed, made or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm;


Firearm silencers were invented in 1902 by Hiram Maxim.  He also invented automobile mufflers. The two inventions are remarkably similar. Car mufflers came to be required equipment by law on the public roads. For no apparent reason, gun mufflers (aka silencers) were effectively outlawed by the FDR administration in 1934 through insanely high taxes and burdensome regulation. The $200 tax in 1934 was the equivalent of $3500 today. At the time, a Maxim Silencer cost about  $6. The federal tax was 3,300% of the cost of a silencer.

Reform of silencer/gun muffler law has been sweeping the nation. The American Suppressor Association (ASA) states that 18 states have legalized hunting with suppressors since 2011, and three states have legalized the ownership of suppressors.

The elimination of the Tennessee statutes that made suppressors illegal in the state does not eliminate the federal regulation of silencers. But federal prosecution of silencer law is more difficult than state prosecution, and the federal Hearing Protection Act is very popular.  It has been in the top ten most viewed bills on the Congressional web site for many weeks.  The act has 141 co-sponsors, including three Democrats.

If the federal HPA passes, Tennessee will not need to worry about useless state regulations.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


  1. avatar C.S. says:

    Hell will freeze over before there’s another silencer ad in popsci.

  2. avatar I1ULUZ says:

    $6.00 1920 = $74.00 2017 Silencerco Sparrow is how much?

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      Well don’t forget that the guys making those suppressors have to be able to make money too. And they have to pay of a lot of middle men along the way. Not the least of which would be the middle man in the form of the government.

    2. avatar Ebby123 says:

      Pre-burdensome regulation VS Post burdensome regulation.

      Among other factors, you’re looking at the cost of government interference in the free market.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    Could you repeat that?

    1. avatar Fffghll says:

      I see what you did there.

    2. avatar hellbilly says:

      I can’t hear what you did there.

  4. avatar Libertarian says:

    Removing Suppressors from nfa list is not enough.

    So long trump and the republicans hold the majority in house and senat i want see attemptions to remove aow, sbr/sbs and big bore destrucitve device too !

    1. avatar Hank says:

      I’m not trying to be a Debbie downer but I don’t see any of those happening. Not because of Trump- if the GOP actually passed them and put them on his desk, Trump would sign them to much fanfare so he could lock in our 2020 vote.. problem is the RINOS and GOPe are going to stifle conservative and Trump agendas as much as the democrats will over the next four years. McStain and Lindsay Demgham have publicly stated this, and it only takes a few GOP turncoats to block anything in the senate. The GOP wants Trump to lose in 2020 so they can run Jeb and Rubio again in 2024, make no mistake.

    2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      What is the position of the libertarian party representatives Gary Johnson and William Weld???
      What is the position of Justin Amash the libertarian in the congress? I really don’t know. Has he even talked about the HPA? Has Reason Magazine said anything? Or any other libertarian publication?
      What about the CATO institute? Any Links out there?
      I will be asking my senator Rand Paul.

      I continue to be amazed at former slave states and states with Jim Crow laws making it so much easier to get guns for everyone and be safer with them. The individual slave master has been replaced with the government collective slave master in the entire west coast. On the east coast its NJ, NY state and much of the north east. Wow

  5. avatar Tater says:

    So marijuana laws are pre emptying federal laws against marijuana so what’s the difference between state laws wouldn’t this law as worded be a state’s rights issue and make possession and sell of silencers legal unless the federal gov comes In and prosecutes it? What am I missing

    1. avatar Ray says:

      They are not preempting federal law. Feds can still legally bust you for drug possession.

      1. avatar Jean-Claude says:

        Exactly. The current state of marijuana “legalization” in some states is only possible because the Feds have decided not to prosecute. If the DEA wants to raid a pot store in Denver, confiscate all the inventory, and take everyone involved to jail, they can do it.

        It’s a confusing situation.

    2. avatar Scott says:

      It’s no different than states legalizing weed. Yes, the federal govt could step in but they normally don’t mess with states, because its revenue. If the federal govt legalized weed, it would be across the board. No state would have to fight it. It just have leadership in some states that want to act prior to federal legalization.

  6. avatar Geoff PR says:

    Are original Maxim silencers expensive today?

  7. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    This needs to come to IL. Not too high of odds though.

  8. avatar Michael says:

    You are forgetting a bit of the history there Truth About Guns.com….the part where the NRA helped by testify in Congress that nobody needed them either.

    1. Here is a review of the original 1934 National Firearms Act:


      Here is a link to the ebook of the transcripts of the hearing and the testimony.


      Please show us where the NRA said that people did not need silencers. I did not find it.

      There has been considerable scholarship to show that there was no testimony as to why silencers were included.


      1. avatar Scott says:

        I don’t think they did mentioned it. It’s an excuse to not wear ear plugs, but it is still a win for the weapon advocates. Yeah yeah.

    2. avatar Ing says:

      No one who was in the NRA then is alive today, and certainly not the people who ran it. Even if they did testify in favor of restrictions way back FDR’s era, what does that have to do with the NRA *now*?

  9. avatar Docduracoat says:

    We all need to change the term from silencer/suppressor to muffler
    The general public is all familiar with auto mufflers
    A car with a muffler is hearing safe but still can be heard coming
    A car without a muffler is a nuisance
    Same with guns

  10. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

    It’s a win, but not too much of a win. Gun stores here have been openly selling suppressors for years. I was not even aware that suppressors were not allowed in TN as there was no enforcement.

    That being said, good job Gov. Haslam and the state legislature.

    1. avatar Phil in Nashville says:

      Suppressors were lawful in TN before this was passed. The same statute that “banned” suppressors said they were lawful if acquired in full compliance with NFA. The only thing the statute did was allow for additional state penalty if you already violated the NFA.

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