The Hearing Protection Act; what you need to know.

With the Oval Office, Senate, and House of Representatives taking a Republican majority in every regard, the world of firearms ownership may be headed for smoother sailing. If the GOP keeps is campaign promises, that is.  One focus is on the Hearing Protection Act.

What is the Hearing Protection Act? Here is the formal reading:

H.R. 3799, the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 would propose the following: This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) eliminate the $200 transfer tax on firearm silencers, and (2) treat any person who acquires or possesses a firearm silencer as meeting any registration or licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act with respect to such silencer. Any person who pays a tax on a silencer after October 22, 2015 may receive a refund of such tax.

The bill amends the federal criminal code to preempt state or local laws that tax or regulate firearm silencers.

Visit Congress.gov here for the full read.

So, this means what exactly?

Essentially, suppressors of any variety (rifle, pistol and shotgun) would no longer require the $200 tax to be paid and by merely purchasing one you would automatically meet all former registration or licensing requirements under the NFA.  This means no more 7 – 12 month wait times.  What other implications does this have?

H.R. 3799 also would amend the law so that suppressors are treated as “long guns” at their point of sale.  You could buy a suppressor in a gun store the same as a rifle or shotgun: pay for it, do your background check, take it home the same day!  Of course, if you live in states where there is a waiting period on ALL gun purchases, you will still need to wait that out, but 10-14 days compared to 10 months is a breeze and a huge win for gun owners everywhere.

This opens up a whole plethora of opportunities for not just consumers, but gun shops and manufacturers as well!  Even the home hobbyist obsessed with 80% receivers.  Could you imagine 80% suppressor kits!?  Moreover, if suppressors are no longer an NFA regulated “firearm”, then businesses who manufacture firearms (I’m talking to you, FFL-07 folks!) could conceivably manufacture suppressors with no more paperwork required than manufacturing a long gun—amazing!  Shops with even decent CNC machines can turn out suppressors at astonishing rates, too.  Here’s where it gets even better.

Right now, demand for suppressors is on the increase.  The demand for them has never been higher in the history of…ever.  I would not be surprised that once all the Form 1 and Form 4 applicants get their suppressors, civilian ownership may meet or exceed government ownership of suppressors.  And as the age old “supply and demand” takes over when every firearms manufacturer can manufacture/sell suppressors without having a Class-II or Class-III SOT with the ATF ($500 - $1000 annually!) the price of suppressors may plummet.  How does a .30cal suppressor for $400 out the door sound?  It may be coming soon.

While the process of registering a suppressor on an ATF Form 1 or Form 4 is not a complicated process, it does turn away many potential owners either by fear of the paperwork, long wait times, or a desire to keep themselves as anonymous as possible from the government.  H.R. 3799 wouldn’t give you anonymity, but it would reduce your exposure to government policy down to a mere background check, in most states.

Last, but certainly not least, is the physiological benefits of shooting firearms with suppressors.  I shoot every gun I have equipped to attach a suppressor with one attached.  Whether I am casually plinking, verifying rifle accuracy, training, or hunting, I use it.  My hearing actually does thank me.  It’s extra awesome to be able to hunt without hearing protection on.  Expensive hearing amplifiers can only do so much, but will never be able to supplement the natural ability to hear in real time surround sound!

fn-suppressed

My modified FN PBR sporting a Griffin Armament RSTA suppressor.

What about shooting safety?  You bet!  Range commands, shooting partners, and children learning to shoot will all benefit from broader suppressor ownership.  Teaching a 5 year old to shoot his first .22 rifle with a suppressor will afford parents to have no communication loss while guns are being fired; sound is dampened and safety factors are amplified!  It’s a win-win for everyone.

H.R. 3799 has a lot of support in the House of Representatives and a Republican presidency makes this an even greater possibility.  Contact you representatives and voice YOUR support for this common sense legislation!

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