On October 22 Representative Matt Salmon (R-AZ-5) announced the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), a bill aimed at removing suppressors from National Firearms Act oversight so Americans can more easily acquire them for hearing protection while target shooting or hunting.
“On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs.” But the passage of HPA would mean Americans in the “41 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal and the 37 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal” would be able to enjoy their Second Amendment rights without the need to purchase earplugs or earmuffs to shoot.
It should be noted that currently–under National Firearms Act (NFA) requirements–the purchaser of a suppressor has to pass the background check required to purchase a machine gun, a transfer/registration process with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and pay a $200 federal transfer tax. There is a waiting process involved in all this that varies in length, but current response time for a would-be suppressor purchaser to be approved is about five months.
But the American Sniper Association (ASA) reports that Salmon’s legislation would change this in a way that makes acquiring suppressors for hearing protection more affordable and more efficient. The HPA would remove suppressors from the purview of the NFA and “[replace] the antiquated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check.” The HPA would also “refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchase a suppressor after October 22, 2015.”
This streamlines the purchasing process so that “law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories.” And by removing the transfer tax from the price of a suppressor, it makes the accessory more affordable to more Americans who want to hunt or target shoot with a reduced level of noise.
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