Senators Introduce 2019 Hearing Protection Act

Measure would allow sportsmen to have better access to hearing protection equipment for recreational gun use.

Hearing Protection Act
Hearing Protection Act

Washington, D.C. –  -( Idaho Senator Mike Crapo along with 12 Senate colleagues, including Idaho Senator Jim Risch, today introduced the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) in the Senate. The HPA, S. 817, would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like a regular firearm. Co-sponsors include Senators John Cornyn (TX), Bill Cassidy (LA), John Boozman (AR), Mike Rounds (SD), Thom Tillis (NC), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Deb Fischer (NE), Jerry Moran (KS), Dan Sullivan (AK), Joni Ernst (IA), and Jim Inhofe (OK).

On average, suppressors diminish the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction provided by earplugs or earmuffs. By further comparison, the most effective suppressors on the market can only reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110-120 decibels. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB).

Currently regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA), suppressors are subject to additional regulatory burdens. The HPA would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like traditional firearms.

It would remove suppressors from regulation under the NFA, and replace the overly-burdensome federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, making the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to that as for a rifle or shotgun. The HPA would not change any laws in states that already prevent suppressors, nor does it get rid of the requirement of a background check.

“The Hearing Protection Act is the right step toward rolling back overly-burdensome regulations on Idaho’s sportswomen and men,” said Senator Crapo. “This legislation would ensure individuals in Idaho can have adequate hearing protection needed while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports.”

“This bill eliminates one more burdensome government regulation imposed on our sportsmen and women,” said Senator Risch. “I urge its passage so that law-abiding gun owners can protect their hearing while enjoying a pastime shared by thousands in Idaho.”

“Guns with suppressors are still very loud, just less likely to cause permanent ear damage,” said Senator Cassidy. “Anyone who thinks suppressors are movie ‘silencers’ clearly has never shot with one. This legislation is for sportsman and recreational shooters, not John Wick.”

“Hunters and recreational shooting enthusiasts are some of the most responsible gun owners in the country, so when they support a measure to better protect their health and hearing we should take notice,” said Senator Boozman. “The Hearing Protection Act is about helping these sportsmen and women continue to enjoy their hobby in a safe manner while still maintaining necessary regulatory precautions.”

“Our commonsense legislation would help protect hearing by eliminating red tape for those seeking to own a firearm suppressor,” said Senator Rounds. “Suppressors have nothing to do with whether guns are ‘silent’ or ‘dangerous’ – they are simply a tool to help protect the hearing of sportsmen.”

“It just makes sense to ease federal regulation of suppressors, which are already legal in most of states,” said Senator Hyde-Smith. “Some of the most liberal European nations require their use to reduce hearing-related injuries. This bill would make it easier to offer the same protection to law-abiding American sportsmen.”

Editors Note: U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is an original cosponsor of the Hearing Protection Act (S.817).  The use of suppressors can help preserve the hearing of sportsmen and their hunting dogs.

“Many hunters and sportsmen in Nebraska use equipment to protect their hearing when they are participating in outdoor recreation activities and living the good life,” said Senator Fischer. “The bill we are introducing today would improve access to suppressors for recreationists by addressing regulatory burdens that make this equipment difficult to obtain.”

“Hunters and sport shooters in Oklahoma and around the country endure hearing loss and damage because misguided federal laws restricts access to suppressors unnecessarily,” said Senator Inhofe. “By implementing this common-sense reform to the National Firearms Act, we can make it easier for responsible, law-abiding gun owners to purchase and use suppressors to protect their hearing, whether at the range or in the field.”

“This firearms safety legislation will enable gun owners to have better access to hearing protection accessories and improve safety for the shooting sports,” said Lawrence Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association. “These accessories have been unfortunately stigmatized and wrapped up by duplicitous background checks, extensive wait times and burdensome paperwork that doesn’t contribute to public safety. NSSF is appreciative of Sen. Crapo’s leadership on effective firearms safety that respects the rights of lawful American gun owners, hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts.”

S. 817 is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Suppressor Association, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucus, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association. The measure will now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

  • 47 thoughts on “Senators Introduce 2019 Hearing Protection Act

    1. ROFL! Democrats? Republicans? How about both of them? None of them should be in there. It used to be that many of them on both sides were right in the middle with a little lean to the left or to the right depending upon their party. Now they are as about far left and right that they can get. We need to start over and whomever does get into office needs to have a real education. Most of the fools in office now don.t have a clue and most of their actions suggest that whatever credentials that they may have concerning an education almost certainly must have been purchased and not earned! Now obviously I have gotten way off topic here but it’s basically all the same story. And like many people have pointed out the movie suppressors are totally fake in regards to how much sound is actually suppressed. But it would be nice to be able to shoot with less worry about hearing loss.

    2. No one wants to admit they’ve failed or been duped but eventually we have to admit where the fault lies… and it isn’t with congress! We elected them so we’re responsible. We believed them every time they pointed a bloody (our blood) finger at the Democrat side of the room and told us ‘It’s their fault!!’ while we knew their only goal wasn’t to serve us but to be re-elected. Well, they have served us — in a way: roasted, basted and sliced while they live in luxury off of us.

      Next year we get another chance to convince ourselves that it really was those damned Democrats that screwed us Maybe we need to changed the script that they’ve been entertaining themselves with every 2-4 years. Maybe that dude in NZ is right and we really are a bunch of yokels clamoring for another show – even if the ticket costs us “our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.”

    3. Dems should consider all the poor hunting dogs whose ears would be protected by allowing hunters to more easily obtain suppressors. I know my dog would appreciate my using a suppressor…

    4. I thought the same thing while reading the article, why didn’t the GOP pass this when they had the power to do so. These nutless wonders are just trying to look good and get reelected.They could give a hoot less about our hearing or what is right.

      1. @tomcat

        Because most of them actually are trying for gun control bills like Rubio and Graham.

        I believe there was an article here at the end of last year, with John Cornyn saying he planned to bring it back in 2019. I pointed out at that time that it was just like the Obama Care vote, they only get behind things when the Anti’s have enough power to keep things from going through, for one reason and one reason only.

        It lets them present idiots like Kevin McCarthy as a savior, instead of the violator he actually is. It lets them protect milktoast rhinos like Cornyn by allowing them to point at the other side and using fear to get you to compromise your principles.

        I was trying to warn people about this back in 2015 and 2016. Oh the things they called me back then…

      2. Because it is the republicans. The had two years to do a lot of things but Paul Pelosi and Mitch Schumer weren’t going to let anything through that didn’t appease the political money overlords.

        They wasted two years and I see this going no where with the anti-American democrats in the House. This is a show for the base to say they are standing with you so vote for us. And like trained seals – we will make noise and clap a lot but not see anything change because that is the way it always is.

      3. AMEN! They screwed us as usual, feeling safe since the totally repugnant left isn’t getting our votes. More Tea Party Candidates have a chance… keep pushing out the Rhinos.

    5. You had an opportunity to pass this according to your promises within the first 2 years of the Trump administration, but you didn’t. Now it is just a token action taken to say that you support the people who voted you in to office. It will never get past the house and you know it. Why did you not do this earlier?

      1. You Sound like a Democrat. Everything has to be right now, No smooth. All things come to one who waits. If you hunt I’ll bet you want the deer to jump into your sights.Have restraint ,everything in it’s own time.

        1. I’m not trying to jump on you either @ MB,

          @ OM,
          I agree with patience being a virtue. Mixed together with experience, it will add years to a MAN’s life!
          Waiting for the right time and season, will never cause us to act hastily, or for a wrong reason!

          .. take a stand, and make a plan.

          .. Liberty, or Death!

    6. The idiots who oppose this are brainwashed by the Hollywood set. Too many movies with assassins using suppressed weapons taking one silent shot and making one kill, never missing. It’s as laughable as the old westerns with the six shooters that fired 100 times before reloading. Get rid of the entire 1934 GCA completely.

    7. This is a good bill. Who do we need to contact on this? I remember reading a article in a gin magazine that said when the 1934 gun control act was being written up someone from fish & game told one of the senators to add sound suppressor to the bill as this would stop all poaching(say, isn’t poaching illegal all ready?) So that’s how it got added to the 1934 gun control act

    8. To little to late as congress is in the hands of Nancy. This is all for show in the senate now. They could have passed it last year when congress already passed this plus national reciprocity, but no way would Mich allow this come to the floor for a vote. In other words the senate killed it last year, now they want to look like heroes. Just another round of bait and switch in D.C.

    9. Thanks for waiting until democrats control the House before you finally got around to introducing this Bill. You RINO clowns are no better than the rest of the miserable politicians. You and your democrat pals are the reason we need term limits for all of you.

    10. I am suprised these are not required by now it really goes to show Hollywoods nonsense absorbs into the brains of the sheltered and inexperienced.

    11. Republicans need to introduce more and more and more pro 2A legislation even if the dems won’t pass it. That is exactly what the dems do.

      I’d love to buy a can but don’t want to go through the hassle at this point. Would be mice to have these items deregulated. My horses and ears would be happy.

    12. Tell the Dumbocraps in Congress that suppressors are the norm in European hunting. Isn’t that what they’re trying to turn the USA into?

    13. This should be named “Tax Increase On Firearm Accessory Act” since it seeks a 10% tax on suppressor sales – the dems in the House would never read it (like Obama Care) and pass it.

      The prior bill, upon passing, called for full reimbursement on the $200 tax stamp as paid when application was filed after Oct 2015 (based upon memory of reading that bill – it was sidelined in Committee and allowed to expire after the (who knows what really happened) Las Vegas shooting). No mention of reimbursement in this bill – just a 10% sales tax.

      The dems should love this bill – suppressors controlled via 4473 approval so background check still conducted prior to authorized transfer from an FFL Dealer and tax penalty imposed on firearm owners who purchase. Slam dunk!

    14. Just change the name to “the one eyed skin snake protection act” and since democrats don’t read bills, they’ll assume it’s to aid in climate awareness, and sign on. Never tell a democrat what you want!!! They don’t want you to have anything unless you give something to them…. Basically, they’re like 3 year olds… Only I have more respect for a crying 3 year old.

      1. The Republicans had the House, Senate and Presidency for TWO YEARS before this. So they wait until they’ve lost the House and darn near lost the Senate to propose this? Jerks.

        1. Exactly. Just like Concealed Carry reciprocity passing the house, left to linger in the senate, expiring, just to be introduced there in the beginning of the new session so a senator can say he is for the rights of the people to defend themselves. If they really supported it they could have voted when they had more support for it. Proof you cannot trust a politician. Even one on your side.

        2. The Republican house did pass this last year but the senate never put it to the floor for a vote. Because they couldn’t get the 60 votes to pass. Because the looser Senate Democrats would never have voted for it.

    15. Suppressors are not firearms. Why would they be regulated and registered as one?
      I’ll tell you why, big Gov wants to control every aspect of our lives. Feh.

      1. Well said big brother can not keep their nose out of our business but can keep their hands in our pockets.,,They study cow farts but can not help save our hearing.

    16. Just like National Reciprocity….in the anti-gun House and this “Trump Hating” political climate, it ain’t never gonna happen in the legislative process.

      However, if President Trump uses his Administrative Powers to “command” the BATFE to re-write their regulations, just like they did with bump stocks, then it would be possible.

      1. BATF could decide that any device that lowers sound levels by no more than 40 decibels is not a silencer under the law.

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