Thirty-seven days after introduction, the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367) reached a symbolic milestone in the House of Representatives when Rep. Drew Ferguson (GA-03) signed on as the 100th cosponsor. Introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) and Rep. John Carter (TX-31), this historic piece of legislation will remove suppressors from the purview of the National Firearms Act (NFA), replacing the antiquated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check. The Senate companion bill, S. 59, which was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), currently has 7 cosponsors.
One of the reasons why the Hearing Protection Act is garnering so much support in Congress is because legislators have been hearing from their constituents. Since the HPA was originally introduced in 2015, over 135,000 emails have been sent directly to legislators from the system found at http://www.HearingProtectionAct.com. Although it may seem insignificant, every email that is sent and every call that is made in support of the bill is a step in the right direction. If you have not contacted your legislators in the new Congress, please do so today.
“Reaching 100 cosponsors in the House clearly shows that the HPA has a tremendous amount of support, but there is still a lot of work to be done to get it to the President’s desk,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “We are working very hard with Representatives Duncan and Carter, and Senator Crapo to turn this legislation into law as quickly as possible; however, it’s going to take time. As we continue our push to move this bill through the legislative process, we commend the 109 legislators in the House and Senate who have signed on in support of this common sense legislation to make the recreational shooting and hunting experiences safer for generations to come.”
The Hearing Protection Act will fix the flawed federal treatment of suppressors, making it easier for hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing in the 42 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 40 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. This legislation will remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used during the sale of long guns. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories.
Suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. Currently, prospective buyers must send in a Form 4 application to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax per suppressor, undergo the same background check process that is required to purchase a machine gun, and wait months for the ATF to process and approve the paperwork. In stark contrast, many countries in Europe place no regulations on their purchase, possession, or use.