I just got word from friends over at Silencerco that the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) was reintroduced to the House of Representatives this past Monday. The HPA seeks to remove suppressors from the NFA and instead have their purchase and transfer treated the same as a long gun, meaning no more $200 tax or extensive waiting period. Instead, customers would undergo the instantaneous NICS background check for a transfer. Also included in the bill language is a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchased a suppressor after October 22, 2015 – the original date of introduction.
Using suppressors just makes sense. A gunshot is 140 to 170 decibels (dB) and the very best hearing protection on the market only has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 33dB. That means that if you’re wearing the very best hearing protection properly, you could still be getting exposed to about 137dB (170-33=137), which is right on the edge of what the National Hearing Research Foundation says can cause instantaneous damage (140 dB).
Unfortunately, the pricks in Hollywood have grossly distorted what suppressors are and can do. In most countries, using a suppressor is not only common, but considered the courteous thing to do and they’re even bought over the counter like you would a scope or any other accessory. Suppressors don’t silence a firearm—period. Take for example Silencerco’s Osprey rifle suppressor. It’s their best and it will reduce a .308 Win. report down to 133.9dB, which is about as loud as a .22 Long Rifle with no suppression meaning you should still wear earplugs, but you’re below the risk of instantaneous damage.
The Hearing Protection Act was reintroduced to the 115th Congress as H.R. 367. It is sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) and Rep. John Carter (TX-31), and a long list of co-sponsors. A companion bill, S.59, was introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (ID) to the Senate. Even though the House, Senate, and Presidency will be controlled by those sympathetic to the Second Amendment, bills take time to become law and there is always a chance that it could be torpedoed.
If you don’t think citizens should be taxed for trying to protect their hearing while exercising their Second Amendment rights, write your Representative and Senators and tell them you support the Hearing Protection Act.
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.