The only thing to really hate about shooting guns is that it’s a LOUD activity. A REALLY, REALLY LOUD ACTIVITY!
Thankfully we have suppressors, which greatly reduce the noise produced by putting lead down range. Sadly though, suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act, which means they are a pain in the butt to obtain (You can read all about how suppressors work and how to obtain them in those great GunsAmerican articles).
In a nutshell, under current law, one must fill out paperwork, submit fingerprints and a registration form, pass an ATF background check, obtain a signature from a chief law enforcement officer and pay a $200 tax before purchasing a suppressor.
Well, maybe, just maybe we are one step closer to removing suppressors also known as silencers from the NFA’s reach, and doing away with that arduous and time-consuming process.
On Thursday, Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon introduced a bill called the “Hearing Protection Act” that would free suppressors from the shackles of the NFA, and instead simply require prospective purchasers to pass a NICS background check.
The bill has the backing of both the National Rifle Association’s Institute of Legislative Action and the American Suppressor Association.
“Suppressors significantly reduce the chance of hearing loss for anyone who enjoys the shooting sports,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA “On behalf of the NRA and our 5 million members, I want to thank Rep. Salmon for his leadership on this important bill.”
“Suppressors benefit all involved in hunting and the shooting sports. It’s time to bring the law in line with modern technology,” added Cox.
As the ASA notes in its press release: suppressors are simply mufflers for firearms, which function by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle, allowing them to slowly cool in a controlled environment. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs. In addition to hearing protection, suppressors also mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges and hunting lands.
“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,” continued Williams.
“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,” he concluded.
Yes, nothing happens over night, especially when we talk about turning a bill into a law. But I’d argue that the wind is at the back of the ASA and the NRA-ILA on this front. Removing suppressors from the NFA is, indeed, common sense. Hopefully, they make real progress on this in the coming months.