June 15, 2021

Crapo, Colleagues Reintroduce Hearing Protection Act

Measure would provide better access to hearing protection equipment for Idaho’s sportsmen

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) led a group of 14 additional Senate colleagues in reintroducing the Hearing Protection Act (HPA).  The HPA, S. 2050, 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.  Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina). 

“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,” Crapo said.  “The common Hollywood-portrayed misconceptions about suppressors are not grounded in factual science, and create unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners.  The Hearing Protection Act will benefit Idaho’s sportswomen and men by ensuring they have adequate hearing protection needed while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports.” 

Background:

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;
  • Remove suppressors from regulation under the NFA;
  • 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 the process for a rifle or shotgun; and
  • Tax suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the NFA, putting more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies.  

The HPA would not change any laws in states that already prevent suppressors, nor does it get rid of the requirement for a background check.  

The Hearing Protection Act is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Suppressor Association, Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association. 

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