Now that Donald Trump has been sworn into office as our 45th President, what does this mean for the 2nd amendment? After 8 years of weakening and attacking US citizens’ right to bear arms, the next 4 to 8 years may provide safe harbor from the gun control storm. A pro-gun President, along with a Republican House and Senate is the trifecta needed to make up lost ground. And one key piece of legislation is the Hearing Protection Act.
Originally introduced in October 2015 by Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) in the 114th Congress, the Hearing Protection Act will remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act (NFA). Replacing the antiquated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check. This means a buyer can purchase a suppressor like any other firearm. Eliminating the $200 tax stamp, 6-9 month wait time, fingerprints and chief law enforcement officer sign off. Also included is a provision to refund the $200 tax stamp to those who paid for one after the bills introduction in October 2015.
The Hearing Protection Act was reintroduced to Congress on January 9, 2017 as H.R. 367, otherwise known as the Duncan-Carter bill. The American Suppressor Association, along with industry leading manufacturers like Silencerco believe that this common-sense legislation has a good chance of passing in the near future. Silencerco’s CEO Josh Waldron recently met with the first son, Donald Trump Jr. to discuss the Hearing Protection Act and how this new administration may help get this bill passed.
Donald Trump Jr discusses The Hearing Protection Act with Silencerco
You may be asking yourself why suppressors are so damn regulated? Originally, there were some that thought they would be regularly used in crimes. However, since the invention of the suppressor in 1902, very few have actually been used in the act of a crime. In a study looking at the criminal use of suppressors in California as well as nation-wide from 1995 to 2005, only 153 federal cases were found to involve suppressors. Furthermore, only 15 of those cases involved the actual use of the suppressor in the commission of a crime. Finally, less than 0.1% of homicides in federal court, 0.00006% of felonies in California and 0.1% of armed robberies involved the use of a suppressor.
Hollywood has mis-informed the viewing public to believe a suppressor, or silencer as they refer to them, can completely mitigate the report of a weapon. Unfortunately, the laws of physics prevent any firearm from becoming completely silent. This is probably why they are not the top choice of criminals. What a suppressor does do, is trap the rapidly expanding gasses exiting the barrel in a chamber allowing them to cool slowly. This typically reduces the muzzle noise by 20-35 (dB). A reduction in noise very similar to that offered by ear muffs or ear plugs. Since 1934, the NFA has regulated the purchase and sale of suppressors. Charging a $200 tax to essentially protect the shooters hearing and reduce surrounding noise. It would be similar to unjustly paying $200 for a pair of earmuffs and having to wait 6-9 months to use them.
Data recently released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BTAFE) have shown a 14% rise in suppressor ownership last year bringing total ownership to over (900,000). Suppressor ownership is currently legal in 42 states with 40 of those states allowing you to hunt with one. This rapidly growing popularity and wide-spread acceptance was apparent at this years Shot Show. Each year, new suppressor manufacturers pop up trying to grab a piece of this expanding segment. And several firearms manufacturers, including Silencerco, were displaying integrally suppressed weapons this year.
If the Hearing Protection Act is to pass, manufacturers will begin to incorporate suppression technology right into the barrel of the weapon. Making firearms less harmful to our ears and pretty badass to boot. If you had to choose between a loud pistol and a quiet pistol, which one would you choose? Imagine being able to hunt, train or compete without the need to wear those cumbersome and sweaty earmuffs. Lets hope the Trump administration pushes this legislation through and that this reality is in the not-so-distant future.