Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC), Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), along with CSC Member Congressman John “Judge” Carter (TX) introduced H.R. 367, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). Joining the primary sponsors on this bill are 43 original cosponsors including CSC Co-Chair Congressman Gene Green (TX), CSC Vice-Chair Congressman Austin Scott (GA) and many other members of the bipartisan CSC.
“I’ve enjoyed the shooting sports since I was a young child – beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my dad. My hearing has been damaged because of gun noise. Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss,” said Rep. Duncan. “This is a health issue even recognized in Europe. It just doesn’t make any sense to regulate suppressors the way we do presently. I think it certainly is questionable from a constitutional standpoint. It’s striking that even Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has no restrictions on suppressors.”
Also known as silencers, suppressors are the hearing protection of the 21st century sportsman. Despite common Hollywood-based misconceptions, no suppressor will ever be able to render gunfire silent. Suppressors are simply mufflers for firearms, which function by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle, allowing them to slowly cool in a controlled environment. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs. In addition to hearing protection, suppressors also mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges and hunting lands.
“For the past five years, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has worked alongside the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, the American Suppressor Association, and many other partners at the state level to normalize the use of suppressors throughout the nation,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “We’ve seen tremendous bipartisan support for firearm suppressors at the state level, and we look forward to working with the bipartisan CSC in the 115th Congress to prioritize the advancement of this common sense legislation.”
The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act is bipartisan legislation that will provide America’s sportsmen and women with easier access to firearm suppressors by removing them from the scope of the National Firearms Act (NFA), replacing the outdated federal transfer process with an instantaneous NICS background check. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain able to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing them. The HPA also includes a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchase a suppressor after October 22, 2015, which was the original date of introduction.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?