Hearing Protection Act Anticipation Causes Unexpected Buying Freeze in Suppressor Market

(Photo: SilencerCo)

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Well, I think we’re all a bit guilty of that when it comes to the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), a bill that would remove the NFA-shackles from suppressors thus streamlining the buying process while also making them more affordable. HPA would mean no CLEO sign-off, no registration, no paperwork, no $200 tax stamp.

Yes, with the election of president Trump, many of us celebrated not only because it meant the end of the anti-gun Obama era, the defeat of the looming, gun-grabbing Hillary machine but also because of the possibilities that a pro-gun administration might deliver within the first 100 days of office.

So, like eager beavers, we began counting our chickens the day the Billionaire real estate magnate took over the oval office. One hatchling: Hearing Protection Act. Two hatchlings: National concealed carry reciprocity. Three hatchlings: Removal of sanctions banning the importation of WWII era rifles.

Yet, the reality is we’re still staring at a basket of unhatched eggs. In our zeal for the new “orange-faced” (I say that with endearment) commander-in-chief what we forgot to keep in mind is that nothing in Washington happens overnight. Everything takes time, typically much longer than one would hope.

Now, to his credit, Trump has really hit the ground running and he does have a mighty tailwind in the form of a GOP-majority in both chambers, but even so, there is no telling how long it will take before we’re buying cans like candy (I mean that figuratively, the purchase of candy does not require a NICS background check like a suppressor would under the HPA).

Ron Martinez, the CEO of Gemtech and a board member of the American Suppressor Association, told AR15News.com that it probably won’t happen until 2018ish.

“Unfortunately there have been some misleading statements about the Hearing Protection Act. It will not pass in the first 100 days,” said Martinez.

“You have to understand the process in Washington DC. I met with Idaho Senator Crapo’s office, who is sponsoring the HPA bill in the Senate. It will take a while as I have said before. The bill sits now in the Senate Finance Committee trying to get to a hearing meeting. The process is long and will take until the end of 2018 at best.”

Most likely, HPA will need 60 votes to overcome a Democratically-led filibuster in the Senate. Those 60 votes may not be there right now even with the GOP majority (52 Republicans currently in the Senate). But with many Democrats on the hot seat this upcoming midterm (10 in states where Trump won in 2016), those votes may be there as the midterms approach and vulnerable incumbents suddenly start making moves to win the “gun vote.”

Unfortunately, one of the byproducts of all this excitement for the HPA has been a buying freeze in the suppressor market. Many folks are waiting for the HPA shoe to drop before they purchase that gun muffler, believing that it will be cheaper and easier. This is having a real impact on can manufacturers.

Reports earlier this month indicated that SilencerCo laid off 100 employees because of the cutoff in sales. To rebound from this freeze, this week, the company has announced a $200 “Tax Rebate Program,” which is not technically a rebate program but a $200 store credit with the purchase of a suppressor (see below):

SilencerCo’s “rebate” program.

That’s one option for those of you who were waiting on HPA to rollout. But, as many have pointed out, there is a provision within HPA that would refund the $200 tax stamp to those who purchased a suppressor after a certain date (Senate version of the HPA says: Jan. 9, 2017; whereas the House version of the HPA says: Oct. 22, 2015). That date may change as the HPA makes its way up the legislative ladder but it’s somewhat safe to assume that those who take the plunge on a can now stand to get that money back from Uncle Sam. In short, if you’re in the market for a suppressor, don’t wait. Buy one now!

While you consider the choice of to buy or not to buy, enjoy the following video that pretty much pokes fun at the whole situation.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Billybob April 29, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Instead of now a one year wait , MAKE THE WAIT TO 30 DAYS OR LESS !

  • Billybob April 29, 2017, 7:58 pm

    Just thank if Roof had been able to by a suppressor along with his GLOCK ! Thanks to OBAMA taking away the LOCAL Sheriffs signature he would be allowed to buy anything ! WASHINGTON — The man accused of killing nine people in a historically black church in South Carolina last month was able to buy the gun used in the attack because of a breakdown in the federal gun background check system, the F.B.I. said Friday.Despite having previously admitted to drug possession, the man, Dylann Roof, 21, was allowed to buy the .45-caliber handgun because of mistakes by F.B.I. agents, a failure by local prosecutors to respond to a bureau request for more information about his case, and a weakness in federal gun laws.“We are all sick this happened,” said James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director. “We wish we could turn back time. From this vantage point, everything seems obvious.”The authorities’ inability to prevent Mr. Roof from obtaining the weapon highlighted the continuing problems in the background check system, which was intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, drug users and mentally ill people. Despite new procedures and billions of dollars that have been spent on computer upgrades in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the federal authorities still do not have a seamless way of examining Americans’ criminal histories that eliminates human error.

  • Cward February 26, 2017, 2:10 pm

    I would love to see the wait time and tax go away from suppressors. But I don’t believe it will happen. At least anytime soon. If at all. There are just too many leftist anti-gunners in the government to get it done quickly or easily. And now they are taking their fight to the states individually to keep law abiding gun owners down. So naturally suppressors will fall in the same category. There are videos of homemade suppressors on YouTube that can be made for less than $50. But you can’t assemble the parts unless you have the legality taken care of. Unless I’ve been looking at the wrong articles and information, a suppressor only drops the sound volume about 20 db anyway. That’s nothing when you have a 180 db gunshot to start and hearing loss starts at 80 db. The suppressor only cuts it to 160 db so it’s not really that helpful. If the manufacturers are going to sell them, they need to be well below that 80 db mark. Until then, I will continue to wear hearing protection.

  • Lance February 25, 2017, 5:15 am

    Sorry but there’s nothing in the can or about it that makes it worth over $200 max in my opinion. Just greedy manufacturing like everything else.

  • Steve February 24, 2017, 9:53 pm

    THEIRS NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT NAZI,S !!! In 50 years is it going to be cute, funny, tongue in cheek for what ISS is doing!!! I’m not easily offended but this hits a nerve !!!!!!

  • Kevin Walker February 24, 2017, 6:35 pm

    Couple of things to keep in mind regarding suppressors, right now it requires several special licenses to actually be engaged in the business of suppressor manufacturing. This adds costs to the business, as does record keeping, compliance and legal costs. Also each suppressor made is subject to a “Making Tax” of $200, plus the separate $200 the consumer pays to the BATFE.

    When the “Hearing Protection Act” passes, all suppressors made and sold in the United States will be regulated as Title 1 Firearms. The makers will still be required to be licensed as a gun manufacturer and bear the costs associated with that business. The $200 “Making Tax” and $200 Transfer Tax will be gone, so basically a consumer is going to save roughly $400 on the cost of a suppressor.

    The other good news is that any licensed manufacturer will be able to make and sell sound suppressors and more makers will enter the industry. This will increase competition and the prices for entry level suppressors will drop. However the price for full auto rated, mil spec gear will maybe drop from $1,000 to $800, as the prices of Materials, R&D, Labor, etc. are not going to be reduced.

    In any event, its good news for shooters and restores some of our lost freedoms.

  • corbett earp February 24, 2017, 5:39 pm

    While the “tax stamp” price of $200. may be gone with all the red tape, I think the government will not want to lose that $ and will make some other $200. fee. You just will not have to wait 9 months to get it. After 64 years I have learned that taxes don’t go away they just change the name or reason to charge it.

    • Jim February 24, 2017, 10:46 pm

      Amen brother

    • Alan February 27, 2017, 5:08 pm

      $200 is chump change today, compared to when the law was passed.
      The NFA always was a “poll tax”, plain and simple.
      It was meant to discourage application, as way too much money for the common man.
      If you think the $200 pays for a background check in Federal employees time, you’re way off.
      The point is, the ATFE won’t miss that little money, in fact I’d wager it COSTS money to process a Suppressor application.

  • Bryan February 24, 2017, 2:04 pm

    Just looks like a push to help out suppressor mfg’s..

    The reality is that people would rather wait on the HPA to come to fruition rather than go through the rat maze that it is now, myself included.

    There will likely be more interested in the mfg of cans once this comes about. If it doesn’t come about what have we lost…

    The mfg’s and the ATF have been ripping us off for so long it isn’t funny, not a single chuckle, you’d get more yucks out of me if I broke a finger.

    $200.00 rebate (of sorts)…no, give us pricing like Europe ha on their cans, that “may” make it more palatable..but probably not…I’ll wait the outcome..

  • KCshooter February 24, 2017, 1:10 pm

    There is no requirement for a CLEO sign-off.

  • Paul Skvorc February 24, 2017, 10:57 am

    The “tax stamp” is a VERY small part of the problem. The REAL problem is getting COMPLETELY RIPPED OFF BY THE MANUFACTURERS OF SUPPRESSORS. In England, with some of the most draconian anti-gun laws on the planet. you can buy GREAT suppressors for a couple of hundred dollars AT THE MOST. Here, you can’t buy one EVEN IF YOU HAVE THE TAX STAMP, for less that $800 AND THE PRICES SKYROCKET FROM THERE. ABJECT GREED is what is keeping people from buying American suppressors.

    • mike February 24, 2017, 12:16 pm

      While they cost more there are suppressors out there in the 3 to 5 hundred range for 30 cal rifles.

    • Rrudytoo February 25, 2017, 7:34 am

      While there are, no doubt, all sorts of government-imposed costs imposed toward the manufacture of supressors the cost of making the silencer itself is actually very small. I can appreciate those added costs but it is also well known that those who sell firearms and their accessories are prone to taking advantage of market trends. Like many others I will wait until the HPA becomes reality and the cost of a supressor becomes affordable.

    • Larry Braswell March 17, 2017, 7:51 am

      Spot on. I am in the market. If not for the HPA I would have started the process and taken it up the backside from the manufacturers to purchase. Now, I would still pay the 200 if the manufacturers cut their prices. That may be the answer to their flagging sales. Cut the prices in anticipation of this becoming law and sales will pick up regardless of the 200 fee and rat maze of red tape.

  • Doug February 24, 2017, 9:57 am

    Hate to be a downer for some of the readers and the previous posters, but the ATF has taken the bureaucracy to a whole new level of BS in the interim. Last year bought a few different models, and when I purchased (most in spring and a couple right before laws/ regs changed) I was told 4 to 6 months max (even on ATF website) with the use of my trust. Got the first one in October after purchase in Feb. (8 months), and was told on the others by the ATF that it’s now an 8 to 9 month process MINIMUM! Completely fed up with their process, but of course they hold all the cards, and you can’t really leverage any “customer service” aspect to get them to speed up.

  • Michael Dugas February 24, 2017, 9:09 am

    I’ve never seen suppressors on sale before, as they are today; when the ban is abolished, supply will fall short of demand for years, and prices will rise.

    Yep, I’ve got my orders in already.

    • George February 24, 2017, 11:26 am

      Nonsense. There are plenty of folks just waiting in the wings to take up the shortfall of the major ‘names’ in the industry. There is absolutely nothing magical about making hearing safe suppressors, the technology and materials are widely available. What we’re going to see is the end of $1000 suppressors, artificially priced so high because of a ridiculous piece of unconstitutional legislation.

      Look at Europe; not a single widely available can sells for even close to what the major manufacturers are scamming from the US public. .22 cans will be less than $50 and full bore, hearing safe cans for hunting will be sub $400 if not less. But yes, its going to take work and people getting off their butts to call their Reps and Senators to make the HPA a reality.

  • Andrew Ling February 24, 2017, 6:39 am

    Being a life-long shooter(of all types of firearms) and hunter, I lauded the election of Mr. Trump as our pro 2nd President.
    We look forward to better things ahead for all us gun owners. The suppressor is a necessary part of the shooting sport because
    it reduces hearing loss for those who shoot a lot. I have lost almost all hearing and must use hearing aids and even a cochlear
    implant to hear speech. We need to pass legislation to lift all ban on the suppressors. As a matter of fact, it should be made a
    part or gun manufacturer’s requirement to design the suppression systems onto the firearms that will cause hearing loss without them, particularly on those hunting guns were most hunter will not wear hearing protection out in the field.
    That said, I have two on order since last year November. I have not heard since. This is just a lot of red tape and a rip off by our government for us law abiding citizens. I am going to continue to support this fight with NRA.

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