Listen up: The Hearing Protection Act just makes sense
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Introduced by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) in October, H.R. 3799 — better known as the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 — is a bill that could completely revolutionize life for hunters and shooters in the United States. Read on to learn all about the proposed law and why you should urge your elected representatives to support it.
You can read the full text of the bill here, but put simply, the Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and would treat suppressors just like rifles and shotguns.
Specifically, this bill would allow people to purchase a suppressor after passing an instant NICS background check. This is in stark comparison to the current system of having to pay a $200 transfer tax, send in an application to the ATF, get approval from a local chief law enforcement officer, and potentially wait for months to be able to purchase a suppressor.
This bill also has a neat provision that would refund the $200 transfer fee to those who purchase a suppressor after Oct. 22, 2015, but before the law goes into effect. Last, but not least, the bill also prohibits states or other local jurisdictions from imposing their own tax or registration requirement for a person to purchase, manufacture or transfer a suppressor.
The subject of suppressors is actually an area where many countries in Europe and Africa, which generally have strict gun regulations, have more reasonable laws regarding suppressors than the United States. It may be a lot tougher to buy a rifle in South Africa or the United Kingdom when compared to the United States, but buying a suppressor in those countries is much easier.
For this reason, it is not unusual for people to hunt with suppressed rifles in those countries. If the Hearing Protection Act ends up becoming a law, it would actually put our laws regarding suppressors much more in line with the rest of the world (which would be a good thing).
Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, suppressors do not completely silence the report of a gun (hence the name suppressor instead of silencer). Nor are they commonly used by criminals.
However, a good suppressor will significantly reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-40 decibels. This is about the same reduction in noise provided by most types of hearing protection. In addition to benefiting the people actually on the range, using suppressors can also make life much quieter for those who live near shooting ranges. What's not to like about that?
As good as this is for the average shooter, the reduction in noise provided by a suppressor is even better for hunters. When using a suppressor, a hunter doesn't have to worry about wearing ear protection in the field. Not only does this make it easier to hear game moving, but it also makes it easier to communicate with other hunters.
Using a suppressor when hunting also makes it easier to shoot without scaring animals in the area as much. This makes suppressors a great choice for hunters pursuing heavily pressured animals or doing pest eradication work (like with hogs) where it may be necessary to shoot several different animals out of a single herd.
Another underrated benefit of suppressors is the fact that they can also reduce the muzzle blast and recoil produced by a firearm. Clearly, this can make a suppressor equipped firearm much more pleasant to shoot. For this reason, suppressors are a great way to introduce new hunters to the sport without having to worry as much about how they deal with recoil or muzzle blast.
Finally, if this bill were to eventually become a law, it would also help significantly reduce the average cost of a suppressor. Along with the complicated and burdensome regulations that currently accompany getting one, the fact that a good suppressor can cost a pretty penny is a major factor that keeps many shooters and hunters from owning one.
The high price of a suppressor is due in large part to the fact that the market for them is so small and exclusive. It's a good bet a number of other companies would join the suppressor market if the Hearing Protection Act became law, and suppressor prices would soon come down.
As you can see, there are many good reasons to support this bill. Contact your representatives in Washington D.C. today and urge them to vote for H.R. 3799 or the companion piece of legislation in the Senate: S.B. 2236.
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