Two federal lawmakers last week reintroduced legislation to ban and confiscate suppressors nationwide.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12) last Thursday brought back to Capitol Hill what’s known as the “HEAR Act.”
HEAR Act stands for Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act. And it would prohibit the importation, sale, manufacturing, transfer, and possession of suppressors. Emphasis was added on “possession” for the obvious reason. It means even current can owners would be affected!
“Gun silencers are devices designed for a very specific purpose – to suppress the sound of gunfire from unsuspecting victims and reduce the chances they can run, hide, take cover, and call the police during an active shooter situation,” said Sen. Menendez in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“It is well past time that we pass the HEAR Act, legislation that would prevent armed assailants from using deadly devices that only make incidents of gun violence all the more dangerous,” he added.
Along with the sweeping ban, the HEAR Act would (per the press release):
- Authorize a buyback program for silencers using Byrne JAG grants;
- Provide individuals with a 90-day grace period after the date of enactment for individuals to comply with the ban;
- Provide limited exceptions for certain current and former law enforcement personnel, for certain Atomic Energy personnel and purpose, and for certain authorized testing or experimentation.
Not surprisingly, the legislation is backed by a collection of the usual suspects.
Senate cosponsors include, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
And, in the House of Representatives, cosponsors include Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas-30), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Wiley Nickel (D-N.C.-13), Glenn Ivey (D-Md.-04), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12), and Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13).
The America Suppressor Association (ASA) was quick to condemn the reintroduction of the HEAR Act.
“ASA is unequivocally opposed to any attempt to ban suppressors,” the organization said in a press release.
“We are unwavering in our support of the Second Amendment and the individual right to possess suppressors. We will fight this tooth and nail. With the facts on our side, we will succeed.”
Along with defeating the HEAR Act, ASA is once again pushing a pro-suppressor bill in Congress known as The Hearing Protection Act.
The Hearing Protection Act would regulate suppressors like traditional firearms. In other words, they would no longer be classified under the 1934 National Firearms Act. Prospective purchasers wouldn’t need to submit fingerprints, pay the tax stamp or register their lawfully owned property with the government.
“At the American Suppressor Association, we believe every law-abiding citizen has the right to protect their hearing while exercising their inalienable Second Amendment rights,” said ASA.
“Just like you shouldn’t have to pay a poll tax to vote, you should not have to pay $200 to protect your hearing. That’s why we helped write the Hearing Protection Act in 2015, and why we continue to lead the charge for its passage,” ASA continued.
So, who wins out in the end? The HEAR Act or the Hearing Protection Act?
Let us hope it’s the latter. But the truth is, for the foreseeable future, nothing is likely to change on the suppressor front. Congress is still too divided to push through any major 2A reform, be it pro-2A reform or anti-2A reform.
As always though, stay tuned for updates.
A full copy of the HEAR Act:
Available on GunsAmerica Now