Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) led a group of 25 additional Senate colleagues in reintroducing the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). The HPA, S. 401, would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like a regular firearm. The measure would benefit Idaho’s recreational gun users and provide them better access to hearing protection equipment.
“The Hearing Protection Act will benefit Idaho’s sportswomen and men by ensuring they have access to adequate hearing protection while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports,” said Senator Crapo. “Law abiding Americans enjoying the recreational freedoms provided under the Second Amendment should not have to wade through overly-burdensome regulations in order to protect their hearing.”
Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Ted Budd (R-North Carolina), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Alabama) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri).
“Idaho’s sportsmen and women want to safely and legally enjoy recreational activities such as hunting and target shooting, but burdensome government regulations unfairly restrict access to suppressors. The Hearing Protection Act will reclassify suppressors to allow Idaho’s law-abiding gun owners to more easily protect their hearing and enjoy this pastime,” said Senator Risch.
“Helping hunters and shooting sportsmen protect their hearing is common sense,” said Senator Boozman. “Responsible, law-abiding gun owners prioritize safety and shouldn’t have to jump through endless bureaucratic hoops to enjoy their hobby with an accessory that’s effective and reasonable. I’m proud to join my colleagues to cut this red tape and increase recreational shooters’ access to suppressors.”
“Responsible firearm owners and citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights across Texas and the U.S. should be able to access adequate hearing protection without unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this effort to increase accessibility to necessary safety equipment,” said Senator Cruz.
“Nebraska hunters and sportsmen may use suppressors to protect their hearing during outdoor recreation activities. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Hearing Protection Act to improve access to suppressors for recreationists by cutting the red tape that makes this equipment difficult to obtain,” said Senator Fischer.
“Guns with suppressors are still very loud, just less likely to cause permanent ear damage,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Anyone who thinks suppressors are movie ‘silencers’ clearly has never shot with one. This legislation is for sportsmen and recreational shooters.”
“The overregulation of suppressors is just more red tape that infringes on Montanans Second Amendment rights. Law abiding Montana gun owners should not have to deal with overbearing government regulations just to protect their hearing and those around them,” said Senator Daines.
“Law-abiding recreational gun users and sportsmen deserve proper noise protection equipment when using their firearms, whether it be for hunting or target practice,” said Senator Tillis. “Suppressors offer this protection and should be readily accessible and not heavily regulated for law-abiding citizens who have a Second Amendment right to use their firearms. I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation to make this protection accessible.”
“Making it easier to buy and transfer suppressors would help protect law-abiding gun owners’ hearing now and into the future. There’s no reason not to take this commonsense step,” said Senator Kennedy.
“Anti-gun activists are weaponizing regulatory tactics to limit Americans’ abilities to exercise their Second Amendment rights, as well as their access to a standard safety instrument. Our bill would roll back red tape for North Dakota’s hunters, sportsmen, and firearm owners who use simple modifications to protect their hearing without stepping on state laws or removing background check requirements,” said Senator Cramer.
“The Hearing Protection Act is a commonsense bill that removes burdensome federal regulations for a firearm accessory that improves firearm safety for hunters and recreational sport shooters,” said Senator Rick Scott. “I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment, and look forward to removing these unnecessary barriers to the use of firearm suppressors when this bill becomes law.”
“Suppressors can be an important safety measure for gun users, and they should not be scrutinized more than any other firearm purchase. The federal government should not be putting more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners and I’m thankful to Senator Crapo for working to defend our Second Amendment rights,” said Senator Lummis.
“It’s completely senseless to require gun owners to complete onerous paperwork and endure excessive wait times to obtain important hearing protection. These accessories improve safety in shooting sports by allowing easier communication on the range and by protecting against hearing loss. Asking sportsmen and women to fight through layers of regulations to exercise their Second Amendment rights is unjust, and this legislation will ensure Kansans and hunters nationwide will have access to the hearing protection they need,” said Senator Marshall.
“I am a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, and Tennesseans should be able to access firearm hearing protection without navigating a minefield of burdensome federal regulations,” said Senator Hagerty. “This legislation protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Tennesseans by ensuring hunters and sportsmen have access to proper noise protection so they can use their firearms in a safe and enjoyable way.”
The Hearing Protection Act is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the American Suppressor Association (ASA), Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“This no-nonsense legislation by Senator Crapo would remove unnecessary and onerous regulations for an accessory that is nothing more than a muffler for a gun,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Suppressors are safety tools that reduce the sound of gunfire to a level that won’t cause instant and permanent hearing loss, enables more accurate marksmanship and allows shooting ranges to be better neighbors. The Hearing Protection Act would reduce unnecessary barriers for this accessory that is currently regulated the same way as automatic firearms. Suppressors were originally listed under the National Firearms Act over poaching concerns during the Great Depression, but those unfounded fears. Suppressors don’t completely silence a firearm, only reduce the report from a level equal to a jet taking off to one similar to that of a jackhammer. NSSF is grateful to Senator Crapo for his leadership to remove unneeded barriers to owning a safety device that is designed to make recreational shooting safer.”
“No one should have to sacrifice their hearing because they choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The Hearing Protection Act will do more to advance conservation and help protect hearing than any piece of legislation has in decades. Thank you to Senator Crapo for leading the charge on this commonsense policy that the American public wants and deserves,” said Knox Williams, ASA President and Executive Director.
"The United States is the world leader in firearm freedoms, but our archaic suppressor restrictions from 1934 put the hearing health of gun owners at risk because of arbitrary political motivations while doing nothing to deter criminals. Americans have the right to suppress their firearms and protect their hearing without paying a $200 tax stamp, waiting several months, and registering with the ATF. We urge Congress to finally repeal unconstitutional restrictions in the National Firearms Act on suppressors and restore the Second Amendment,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA Federal Affairs Director.
“The Hearing Protection Act is a vital piece of legislation that would enable hunters and shooters to protect their hearing by cutting government red tape and bureaucracy in the purchase of suppressors,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director. “We applaud Sen. Crapo for reintroducing this bill for all sportsmen and hunters across the nation.”
Suppressors are currently subject to additional regulatory burdens under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The HPA 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. This process would make the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to that as for a rifle or shotgun. Also, the HPA would put more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies by taxing suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the NFA.
Full bill text is available here.
On average, suppressors diminish the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction provided by earplugs or earmuffs. The most effective suppressors on the market can only reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110-120 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to a jackhammer.