How Are Suppressors Impacted by The Hearing Protection Act?

Buying a silencer
How Are Suppressors Impacted by The Hearing Protection Act?
Orchid Advisors
Orchid Advisors

USA – -( On January 9, 2017 House Representatives Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and John Carter (R-TX) and Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Rand Paul (R-KY) reintroduced the Hearing Protection Act (“HPA”), H.R. 367 and S. 59, respectively, in the latest effort to remove suppressors from the purview of the National Firearms Act (“NFA”).

Additionally, the measure, originally introduced October 22, 2015, would provide a refund to consumers who purchased a suppressor and paid the Federal $200 transfer tax any time after that date.[1]

The bill would remove suppressors (also referred to as “silencers” or “firearm mufflers” in both the Gun Control Act (“GCA”) and NFA, as well as their implementing regulations) from NFA regulation simply by removing “silencer” from the NFA’s definition of a “firearm.”[2] Thus, if “silencers” were no longer considered a “firearm” under the NFA they would not be subject to the tax, transfer requirements, and licensing obligations of the NFA.

The remainder of the NFA (including controls on machine guns, SBRs, SBSs, etc.) would remain unchanged by the proposed measure.

Furthermore, it would amend the GCA, adding a provision to prevent states and localities from imposing any taxes, marking, or registration requirements upon the making, transferring, or possession of suppressors.[3] However, the proposed HPA does not address state laws that currently prohibit suppressor possession or ownership.[4] (read NJ)

Sentiment across the industry suggests that consumers, Federal Firearms Licensees, and agency personnel believe passage of the bill in its current or even a modified fashion is warranted. In addition to proposed tax refunds, consumers would benefit from the ability to purchase suppressors at local retail stores.

Industry licensees would benefit from a spike in short and maybe long-term sales of the product. They would also benefit from the ability to reduce the sales cycle associated with regulatory forms processing and approval. Likewise, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) would benefit from a reduced volume of forms requiring review, approval, and filing.

There are some who believe passage of the Act might have a long-term impact on existing manufacturer competitive advantage and product profitability. The belief stems from the thought that reduction in regulation would permit an increase in suppressor manufacturers even to include home production.

The net effect of increased product availability could lower product prices and associated margins.

Navigating the world of National Firearms Regulations (NFA) can be time-consuming and the potential implications of non-compliance costly. The lack of proper filing at the right time, on the right form and related to the proper serial number can lead to delayed forms approval extending inventory hold times and impacting the speed of sales.

To learn more about NFA regulations or even those specific to suppressors, visit the ATF’s website for several resources including the National Firearms Act (NFA) Handbook. (below)

If you want to learn more about the business of suppressor manufacturing, distribution or retail sales, or even the best practices for regulatory compliance contact the NFA experts at Orchid Advisors (

ATF National Firearms Act (or NFA) Handbook by AmmoLand Shooting Sports News on Scribd


[1] H.B. 367, Sec. 2(b)(2).
[2] H.B. 367, Sec. 2(a).
[3] H.B. 367, Sec. 4.
[4] Individuals in eight states are currently prohibited from owning suppressors; California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.


About Orchid Advisors:

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Mark Houghtaling

Well, how about that. The same 8 states that keep popping up on the top of the Liberal Socialist Progressive list. Unfortunately, I live in Socialist New York under the regime of King Andrew Cuomo. NOMO CUOMO!!!

“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason” – – Mark Twain

John D

My only complaint with the current H.P.A. as written is the requirement for the Form 4473. If it’s not a “Firearm”, then why the paperwork and NICS check? It’s a MUFFLER, not a GUN. It’s not capable of FIRING anything. It shouldn’t be any more difficult to buy a MUFFLER for a gun than to buy a MUFFLER for a car! It’s an accessory, no different than a scope, or a different stock, or a different barrel. Now, I have heard the argument that starts: “One step at a time…”. BULL! It should have never been classified as a FIREARM… Read more »

Dr Dave

John D
I believe they removed that clause in the final language of both bills (house and senate). I believe they will be just like holsters and ammunition.

John D

I must respectfully disagree. Both the H.R and the S.B. both start with ” A bill To provide that silencers be treated the same as “LONG GUNS.”! Meaning, all rules regarding the purchase of a “long gun” are required! Changing the law to say that silencers are “long guns” still subjects purchasing one to a Form 4473 and a NICS check. It also means that you can only buy one through an FFL. It also means that any law that regulates where you can posses, or who can posses a “long gun” also applies to a silencer. That is totally… Read more »

Ken R

Write your Senator and Representative asking them to support the Hearing Protection Act – S59 and HR 367. Be respectful and to the point. Do not threaten, but rather build a positive relationship with your legislators. Go to your Senator’s and Reorsebratice’s website and send them an email. Now is the time to act.

Patrick Sperry

Earlier I had read about this, and that article said that a person would still be subject to all the background checks etc. associated with buying any firearm. Looks like some very good amendments have been made!


An additional bonus to manufacturers of gun barrels.