Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) has introduced the Hearing Protection Act of 2015. The act would remove suppressors and silencers from the National Firearms Act. In other words, there would be no restrictions (other than state ones) and no $200 tax anymore. You'd only have to go through a NICS check.
As someone who has both tinnitus and moderate 4000 Hz notch hearing loss, I fully support this bill. My hearing impairment came as a result of shooting firearms at earlier period in my life without hearing protection. My audiologist told me last week when she checked my hearing that I would need hearing aids in the future.
The NRA supports this bill and released this statement today:
Fairfax, Va.— The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) announced its support today for the Hearing Protection Act. Sponsored by Congressman Matt Salmon (AZ-05), the legislation removes suppressors from regulations established under the National Firearms Act of 1934.The bill has not been assigned a number yet but I'll update this post when it does.
“Suppressors significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss for anyone who enjoys the shooting sports,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA and our 5 million members, I want to thank Rep. Salmon for his leadership on this important bill."
Prevailing regulations requires buyers to send an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), pay a $200 tax, and pass an arduously time consuming ATF background check. Under Salmon’s bill there will be no application, no tax, and buyers would be required to pass the same National Criminal Instant Background Check (NICS) as law-abiding guns owners.
As a leading voice in the industry, the American Suppressor Association has provided valuable insight to the creation of the Hearing Protection Act.
“Suppressors benefit all involved in hunting and the shooting sports. It’s time to bring the law in line with modern technology,” said Cox.
It is currently legal to hunt with a suppressor in 37 states. 41 states allow private ownership of suppressors.
Michael Bane related a conversation he had with someone in the suppressor industry in his most recent podcast. The gist of it was that if suppressors had been invented now instead of the early 20th century, we would be required to have them and we'd be able to pick them up at a corner store.
I believe that is correct. I do know that I'll fight tooth and nail for this bill. I don't want today's younger shooters to have to deal with even moderate hearing loss.
UPDATE: The American Suppressor Association released a statement on the introduction of this bill. As you can imagine, they are very, very pleased with this bill.
It said, in part:
“The American Suppressor Association believes that citizens should not have to pay a tax to protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the ASA. “The removal of suppressors from the National Firearms Act has been our ultimate goal since day one. For months, we have worked alongside Rep. Salmon’s office and the National Rifle Association to craft this legislation. Although we recognize that introducing this bill is the first step in what will be a lengthy process to change federal law, we look forward to working with Rep. Salmon and the NRA to advance and ultimately enact this common-sense legislation.”UPDATE II: The number of the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 is HR 3799. You can quickly send a letter to Congress showing your support by using this PopVox link.