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.
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.
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.