On October 22, 2015, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) introduced H.R. 3799, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) that would remove suppressors from regulations under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The proposed bill would have suppressors treated as ordinary firearms subject to instantaneous background checks through the NICS system.
“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 American Suppressor Association (ASA).
The transfer and possession of suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934 and prospective buyers must send in a Form 4 application to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax per suppressor, undergo the same background check that is required to purchase a machine gun, and wait months for the ATF to process and approve the paperwork.
No longer would individuals wanting to purchase a suppressor have to jump through the many hoops currently required by the NFA and the BATFE nor pay the $200 transfer tax. A provision in the bill would refund the $200 to applicants who purchased a suppressor on or after October 22, 2015. The purpose of this provision is to not discourag people from waiting to acquire a suppressor until the fate of this bill is determined.
Right now, suppressors are legal to obtain for private ownership in 41 states and legal for hunting in 37. Their popularity among hunters and shooting enthusiasts has been growing recently as they recognize the benefits of reducing the sound roughly the same amount as earmuffs or earplugs. Currently there are approximately 800,000 suppressors registered in the country, up 38% in 2014 alone.
This is just the first step in the long process of changing federal law, but it is the step in the right direction.
If passed, would you be more inclined to acquire a suppressor?