Hearing Protection Act: Removal of Sound Suppressors under the NFA
Hearing Protection Act Introduced by Pro-Gun Representatives Pro-Gun Representatives showed their concern and those of the American Suppressor Association by introducing H.R. 3799, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). The HPA would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA), leaving them to be treated as ordinary firearms subject to the usual NICS check and Form 4473 for dealer sales.
Sound Suppressors primary function is to reduce the muzzle report of the firearm, thereby protecting the hearing of the firearm’s operator. Permanent hearing loss is one of the most commonly experienced hunting-related injuries. This makes the firearm safer and quieter to operate, reducing the sound (decibel level) that reaches the shooter by about the same degree as a pair of earplugs or earmuffs.
These have become increasingly popular as more and more hunters and firearm enthusiasts have discovered their benefits. In the U.S. mufflers are legally required or commonly included on a variety of noise producing tools such as cars, lawn mowers and chainsaws. Sound Suppressors, however are also considered “firearms” under the federal
Gun Control Act of 1968
This would continue under the HPA. Commercial manufacturers and dealers would still have to be licensed, background checks and record keeping requirements would continue to apply to retail sales and people with serious criminal histories or prior mental health commitments or adjudications would still not be able to possess them.
The Act would also allow those who acquire a suppressor after October 22, 2015 (the date the Act was introduced), but before the Act’s effective date, to obtain a refund of the NFA’s $200 tax. Currently suppressors are subject to the NFA’s lengthy application, “CLEO sign-off,” and $200 taxation provisions.
Suppressors may be legally obtained in 41 states, and they are lawful for hunting in 37. Other countries around the world including many European nations place no regulation on their acquisition or use.“Suppressors benefit all involved in the hunting and shooting sports,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox. “It’s time to bring the law in line with modern technology.”