The Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act was reintroduced on Thursday.
Sponsored by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), the HEAR Act would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of suppressors.
Per the language of the bill, it would also:
- 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.
“Gun silencers are dangerous devices with one purpose and one purpose only – to muffle the sound of gunfire from unsuspecting victims,” said Sen. Menendez in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“The sound of gunshots is what signals you to run, hide, take cover, call the police and help others save themselves; however, this is nearly impossible when a gun silencer is used,” he continued. “That is why we must pass the HEAR Act, commonsense legislation that will prevent armed assailants from using these deadly devices to make it easier to shoot and kill another person.”
Claiming a ban on suppressors has “widespread support among voters,” Congresswoman Watson said, “Silencers are not tools of self-defense, they are tools of murder.”
“They have no legal application which is why law enforcement officials around the country have been calling for their elimination,” she added.
Menendez originally introduced the HEAR Act in 2019 following the Virginia Beach mass killing.
GunsAmerica reached out to Knox Williams, the President of the American Suppressor Association, to get his thoughts on the bill.
“Senator Menendez and Rep. Watson Coleman are entitled to their own opinions. They are not entitled to their own facts,” he told GunsAmerica via email.
“Their statements aren’t just misleading, they are out and out lies. It is abundantly clear that they have never heard a suppressed gunshot, because if they had they would know how loud they truly are,” he continued. “Rather than hide behind their falsehoods, they should join us at the range so they can see and hear firsthand how wrong they are about suppressors. We would be happy to host an educational demonstration for them any time, any place.”