by Victoria L. Walker - Wednesday, March 1, 2017
If you’re into firearms, you should be familiar with the Hearing Protection Act, maybe you already are, but if you’re not – we’re here to help. This proposed legislation would make it easier for gun owners to acquire suppressors by removing burdensome regulatory hurdles and eliminating the $200 tax stamp requirement.
The Hearing Protection Act is a major step in the right direction for sportsmen and firearms owners, making safer shooting more accessible. But for now, we need to understand the HPA and how we can support it in order to make it a reality.
The National Firearms Act of 1934
We need to first understand the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). The NFA makes it mandatory to go through a three-step process in which the buyer completes a complicated application process and a $200 tax is imposed. Once the application is approved by ATF, the buyer may pick up their suppressor at their local dealer.
When Hiram Maxim patented his silencer there was a lack of knowledge of this new product, so it was lumped into the NFA with machine guns and other firearms used in organized crime.
Purchasing a suppressor has remained legal ever since 1934, but you had to pay dearly for it. When the NFA was passed, $200 could buy you a brand new Ford Model-T, so this exorbitant tax made it cost-prohibitive – exactly what the Federal government had intended.
Even though a $200 tax may be more manageable in 2017, it is an unnecessary expense, and the process of completing paperwork and waiting for the ATF to approve the transfer is tedious and time-consuming.
What Will the Hearing Protection Act Change?
In part, a general lack of knowledge of why suppressors are needed prompted the establishment of the National Firearm Act. The Hearing Protection Act would undo the restrictions on suppressors, treating them like other firearms.
The goal is to simply pull suppressors out of the same regulations as machine guns and grenades.
The HPA would remove the first two steps and make the Firearm Transaction Record, your typical Form 4473 background check, the only step needed to purchase a suppressor. Eliminating the long wait and the excessive tax.
Who Will the Hearing Protection Act Affect?
The HPA will impact the entire firearm industry. Passage of the bill opens up incredible new opportunities for firearm owners to easily acquire these devices for safer shooting, and gives manufacturers more incentive to produce and market suppressors.
Using a suppressor can help protect your hearing, the hearing of those around you and also reduce recoil.
Hearing loss is progressive -- once you’ve lost your hearing, it’s gone. It is important that citizens understand how serious this safety issue is and how much it can affect your daily lives.
Chris Cox, Executive Director of NRA-ILA explained, current suppressor restrictions “don’t make any sense,” and that gun owners and sportsmen should be able to practice their sport with the tools necessary to do so safely. The HPA will make it easier for them to do that.
How Can You Help?
This is more than a firearm legislation -- this is common sense safety legislation. If you are interested in helping make the Hearing Protection Act become law, encourage your friends and family to reach out to their local representatives, and let your support for the HPA be known.
Don’t succumb to the negativity that surrounds the bill from opponents, who despite the benefits are determined to resist its passing solely based on their political agendas. Don’t spread misinformation amongst friends and colleagues, and politely correct others who may have the facts wrong. Most importantly, remain a positive example of a Second Amendment advocate, and combat negativity and petulance with grace, intelligence and maturity.
Ready to act? Contact your representatives via the NRA-ILA website!