Congress Needs to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

Rifle Suppressor Silencer Can
Congress Needs to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
National Rifle Association Institute For Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)

Fairfax, VA – -( On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and John Carter (R-TX) – along with 42 co-sponsors – as H.R. 367.

The HPA would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and treat them as ordinary firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). As with other firearms, commercial manufacturers, dealers, and importers would still have to be licensed, and the items’ retail sales would be subject to the GCA’s background check and transfer form requirements. 

Currently, suppressors (misleadingly referred to as “silencers” in federal law) are subject to the NFA’s cumbersome and lengthy application process and a $200 tax stamp. Lawful purchasers can expect a raft of red tape and months of waiting. This is so, even though the devices themselves are completely harmless and very rarely used in crime.

Like a muffler on an automobile, suppressors reduce the muzzle report of the firearm to which they are attached, protecting the hearing of the firearm’s operator and reducing noise and disturbance to those in nearby vicinities. Recoil is also dampened.

Contrary to their portrayal in movies and television shows, suppressors do not render firearms all but soundless. They do, however, make them safer and quieter to operate.

Suppressors have soared in popularity in recent years, as more and more hunters and firearm owners have discovered their benefits. Private ownership is legal in 42 states, and they are lawful for hunting in 40 of those states. 

Ironically, regulation of suppressors is one area where American gun owners are at a relative disadvantage to their counterparts in other countries. In England – which has gone a long way toward eradicating private firearm ownership – suppressors are nevertheless encouraged for private firearm owners and mandatory for uses such as pest control. 

It is inconsistent, if not incoherent, that mufflers are commonly used or even legally required on noise-producing tools in the U.S. – including cars, lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc. – but legally discouraged for use on firearms.

It’s also the height of hypocrisy for gun control groups posing as “safety organizations” and pushing so-called “smart gun” technology to oppose legislation that would increase the safety and reduce the collateral effects of lawfully-owned guns. 

The NRA strongly supports the HPA and thanks its sponsors and co-sponsors in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate for their leadership in this important effort. We also commend the American Suppressor Association, which has provided valuable insight and expertise on this issue.

“Gun owners and sportsmen should be able to enjoy their outdoor heritage with the tools necessary to do so safely. This bill makes it easier for them to do that,” stated NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox.

Please make sure your U.S. senators and congressional representative hear from you on this legislation to protect Second Amendment rights and the health of the American gun owner. It is long past time to discard America’s antiquated and unsupported approach to suppressor regulation.

You can contact your member of Congress via our Write Your Reps tool by clicking HERE or use the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Visit:

  • 13 thoughts on “Congress Needs to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

    1. Pat we both know that criminals don’t obey laws period, so no amount of this is illegal is going to help. I was in the military and can make an improvised suppressor in minutes, so there is no legal protection from improvised suppressors available if criminals want to use them. Yes some will probably used for nefarious purposes, but that is a given. Suppressors carry a hefty price, most criminals won’t pay it. They buy cheap guns, they are just an expense to them, a way to get cash. Any good hit-man already has one made without a serial # from a black market source anyway. All this does is give guys and ladies who shoot a lot a way to have fun without ringing in their ears.

    2. I am on both sides of this controversy. Members of my family are gun club members and shoot on a regular basis. They talk about the noise at the club. They also have ear plugs and use head sets to abate the noise. Also noted that indoor ranges also supply headsets or ear plugs to shooters. So I understand that part. I don’t feel that this bill should be under the guise of Hearing Protection Act when it is just a way for the manufacturers to make more money more freely. What would have happened for instance in the Florida nightclub when that insane person opened fire. Music was playing rather loudly I suppose, but people were able to try to protect themselves when they heard the shots. If that man had a suppressor on his gun, how many more would have died because they didn’t have the warning of hearing shots fired. If you want to put this through congress which I suppose is going to happen because it is backed by the NRA which was a big contributor to the republican party and also supported by Eric Trump stating that it will help children who are taken to ranges or hunting. Name it what it is – Firearms Suppressor Act.

    3. Congress is poised to consider at least two 2nd Amendment focused bills: the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill and the Hearing Protection Act of 2017. These bills are not nearly comprehensive enough. And, the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill (at least its initial version) is dangerous, since it would codify a serious error with respect to the 2nd Amendment. Congress should pass a much more extensive bill (as described below) to protect 2nd Amendment rights.
      A problem with the National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill has been that states and localities would continue to be permitted to infringe on 2nd Amendment rights under this bill, by placing their own the excessively onerous limitations on gun ownership and use, including concealed carry. Indeed, this bill explicitly codifies the rights of those gun-phobic jurisdictions to enact and enforce those infringements.
      The Supreme Court has ruled that 2nd Amendment rights are individual, Constitutional rights. When we cross state lines, we don’t worry about local laws that limit, for example, our 1st, 4th, or 5th Amendment rights because they are protected by our nation’s Constitution. Imagine the media outcry if some states established licensing requirements for printing presses and standards for their “needs-based use”, as they have with firearms.
      Just as the federal government is responsible for protecting citizens from state infringements of their 1st, 4th and 5th Amendment rights, it is also responsible for prohibiting infringements by the states of 2nd Amendment rights.
      Instead, Congress should codify a broad range of specific gun ownership and concealed carry rights for all law abiding, mentally competent, adult citizens in all 50 states. Congress should also prohibit the states, localities, and the federal Government from putting onerous legal obstructions in the path of those citizens who want to exercise those rights. Examples of those obstructions include: outright bans on concealed carry, need-based criteria for issuing gun ownership or concealed carry permits, magazine size limitations, semi-automatic “assault weapons” bans, taxes above the normal sales tax rate on guns and ammo, long-term storage of information about who owns what firearms, unreasonable restrictions on firing ranges, and classifying firearms sound suppressors as Class III firearms (suppressors are not firearms any more than magazines and ammunition are).
      The bill should also:
      • Refund the $200 tax on suppressors purchased in recent years (one $200 refund per ATF Form 4), and
      • Include nation-wide mental competency standards for gun ownership, the need for which was highlighted recently by how law enforcement handled the Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooter.

    4. I too have damaged my hearing while target shooting as a young boy. Mine was damaged enough that I lost a full ride Marine Corps scholarship to the Citadel as I could never meet military hearing standards. I currently own three suppressors legally and enjoy not only the protection they give me, but the knowledge that I can shoot my rimfire target rifle without disturbing the neighbors. My 9mm suppressor helps a lot, but as others have stated, it still sounds somewhat like a gunshot and I don’t use it much. I always find movies such as “No Country For Old Men” depicting a 12 gauge suppressor the size of a short maglight entertaining to say the least. I would love to see one of the opponents of this bill actually fire such a device, even better, fire it indoors such as in the movie. When the ringing stopped maybe they would be more willing to listen. I really wish they would just take the time to actually educate themselves instead of depending on what is shown in the movies to determine what is good for me.

      As to criminals, information to construct a suppressor is already readily available online, and as already stated, kits are now available online too. Sharing knowledge is still free in this country, for now. I do doubt the common street thug is going to want the extra 8-10 inches added (remember, REAL suppressor, not the 4″ movie version) to the end of his barrel, making the firearm difficult to hide. But to me, if you are worried about criminals, support criminal control, not gun control.

      As an owner, I didn’t mind the process of background checks, fingerprinting and even paying the tax. What bothered me the most is the long wait. I cannot think of one other product that is in dealer stock, you pay for, then wait 7-12 months before you can take it home. If the opponents of this bill want to gain some allies, call over to the ATF and have an honest conversation on what in the hell takes them so long. If they could get it to a realistic 2-3 weeks, then I think more people would be willing to work with them instead of around them.

      Finally, there are countries in our world that take very strict stances on gun control, but freely allow individuals to purchase suppressors off the shelf without any type of background check. I believe in those countries it is actually considered rude to shoot without one, sorta the same way we would feel about someone driving their car through our neighborhood without the muffler attached.

      I pray, common sense wins over fear in this particular issue, not just for me, but for the countless children that received their first rimfire rifle for Christmas or birthday. Hopefully one of those will want to be a marine, get a full scholarship, and make it without the limitation of a hearing loss. Thanks for taking time to read.

    5. They are called suppressors for a reason. “Silencer’ is a hollywood term and not accurate. Trust me, you will still hear the shot. It just brings it down a bit to a manageable level. You can buy parts online for $40 to turn a Maglite into a silencer.

      Once again, this change will only affect law abiding citizens. Fear of criminals and murderers using them is asinine, since they can already get kits to build them easily online. At that point it’s an honor system to inscribe the serial number, pay the tax stamp and wait for your paperwork to go through.

      To be honest it really doesn’t make sense for criminals to use them, unless they are worried about their hearing. It won’t hide the fact they are firing a gun.

    6. As someone who has had hearing problems my whole life and cannot currently shoot any firearms without hearing protection even while hunting (doctor’s orders), I would live to have easier access to be able to purchase a suppressor for any of my firearms. I would not have any issues taking any background checks( or any extra background ground checks for that matter ) as I currently work as a sub contractor on federal government projects and background checks are part of the job.

    7. that is also a concern of mine, but either way their going to get them if they want them bad enough. It shouldn’t take six to seven months to get a tax stamp for suppressors, put more people on doing the paperwork and charge a little more for the tax stamp, a background check should do for security reasons. How would you like to pay 1000.00 or more for something and have to wait six to eight months to get it?

      1. I’m not paying the government more money for “security” for something that should be legally guaranteed under the second amendment. That’s a cop out.


      1. You can make a “silencer” out of PVC pipe, electric tape, and steel wool. People have used oil filters successfully as suppressors. They don’t make firearms movie quiet unless you’re a British OSS operative in World War II. Typically speaking, it only lowers a firearm’s report by about thirty decibels- just enough to render them hearing safe without ear protection.

        As with most legislation, excessive taxation and regulation only renders things like this unavailable to law abiding citizens. Australian criminals make fully automatic submachine guns with hand drills and dremels; a pretty easy thing to do when you don’t care about the legal aspect. Similarly, homemade suppressors can be as simple as a water bottle wrapped in duct tape and filled with rubber wipes- nobody’s going to pay for a 200 dollar tax stamp and wait nine months for it, let alone someone with felony charges.

      2. Even if they don’t have these, they are doing just fine shooting up neighborhoods loudly. Not having a suppressor will NOT stop gangs from killing people! Just as not owning a handgun will not prevent murder.

    Leave a Comment 13 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *