ASA: Hearing Protection Act (Suppressors For All)

ASA_TAXSTAMP_FB_102115

The American Suppressor Association (ASA) has been working with Congressman Rep. Matt Salmon and the NRA. Last week, they have introduced a piece of legislation called the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). ASA, NRA, and Salmon are trying to remove suppressors from the purview of the NFA and replacing it with a standard NICS check and eliminate the $200 tax stamp. By having suppressors ownership go thru a NICS background check, only lawful citizens can purchase them. This will only apply to the states where suppressors are legal. Sorry California, NY, and all the other states that do not allow suppressors. But it is good news for the rest of us.

I wish them all the luck and good fortune in this endeavor. However I have my doubts it will pass. Simply the fact that the government will not relinquish a source of income as lucrative as the $200 tax stamp on suppressors. I think a compromise could be made if the ATF wanted to keep their $200. Rather than tax the buyer, just tax the manufacturer for every serial number they register. The government gets their money and we don’t have to bother with the long processing time. Sort of like keeping the cost of luggage and meal in the cost of an airplane ticket, I would not complain as much. So what if the suppressor cost is an additional $200? We pay that already to have them. Sure I would like them to be cheaper and not have to pay the $200, but will that actually happen? Doubtful, but I can dream and hope.

For more information go to ASA’s website.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Even though IA doesn’t allow NFA items, I always like to hear of these efforts. I do worry that it could backlash though. Every so often, small voices suggest INCREASING the tax stamp cost. This bill could draw undue attention and make much larger voices call for an increase on NFA items. Just imagine when the tax stamps were first legislated… that was a huge amount of money.

    Even if my state made NFA legal tomorrow, I’d still have to save for quite a while before I could get into the NFA game for the $200 level. It’d be a no-go for sure if they upped the tax.

    • Nicholas Chen

      I would propose a compromise. Remove suppressors, SBS, and SBRs. Then open the machine gun registry and increase tax stamp for inflation in full auto/select fire. I would be happy to pay a couple thousand to own a new machine gun.

      • Weaver

        How about not. Because they can adjust it and where would it stop? Adjust for inflation and wait lets make it even high and not cost productive for regular citizens to own.

        • Nicholas Chen

          Are you saying I am not a regular citizen? I would be glad to pay a tax to own a new machine gun. Full auto guns don’t cost that much. Like a Tavor is something around $1200 for select fire.

          Regular citizens have machine guns. New ones. They just happen to have a type 3 or higher FFL. When it comes down to it, they are normal people with machine guns.

          • nova3930

            I wonder if opening Type 03 FFLs to new manufacture FA would be a politically palatable option? You’re already talking about people that have been vetted and have to maintain a bound book.

          • Nicholas Chen

            As far as I understand it, as long as they have SOT letter they can have new FA

          • nova3930

            I could be wrong but I don’t think that’s correct. SOTs are applicable to businesses and the Type 03s are explicitly prohibited from engaging in the business of dealing in firearms. You’re only allowed sales here and there to reshuffle and enhance your collection….

          • Nicholas Chen

            Type 3 deals in suppressors and other NFA. Type 7 can manufacture.

          • nova3930

            OK I think we’re having a miscommunication, primarily because the nomenclature is terrible.
            I was originally talking about a Type 03 FFL which is a Curio and Relic FFL. My Type 03 FFL prohibits me from being a dealer.
            You’re correct in that a Type 3 SOT is for NFA dealers. It still requires a Type 1 or 2 FFL though.

          • avconsumer2

            Heh, that you practically have a learned law degree in order to distinguish these things is a giant part of the problem. I would literally consult a lawyer if I had to move to CA for instance (re: the legality of any / all of my collection).

          • Edeco

            $1K a year for the privilege is normal? Alright, Elmer.

          • sean

            most people that have full auto pay top dollar for them and the right to have them…so if new one could be owned then all the guns that are out there would loss all there value. A guy that owns a full auto $15,000 gun would now have a $800 gun because you can just go buy a new something full auto for $1,200.

          • slackercruster

            Well, that is how it goes sometimes. We paid $35,000 in RE taxes in the 1980’s when we sold our house. A few years later the tax law changed and we would have paid nothing.

            I have a few mg’s. I’d take a drop in value if I could buy state of the art new full auto. Anyway, don’t foresee this happening.

      • marathag

        Adjusted for inflation, that $200 is almost $4000 today. Still a chunk of money, even if you could get AKs withouth Century butchering them up first. for $600

        • nova3930

          Better to pay $4k in taxes for a $1500 FA AR, than $200 in taxes for a $20k FA AR…..

          • aevangel1

            @ nova

            Amen to that.

            Although I’d rather not pay anybody to restrict my RKBA

  • M.M.D.C.

    “…a source of income as lucrative as the $200 tax stamp…”

    It’s an interesting question. Assuming an average salary of $84,000 (Cato Institute [sorry]) and a 40 hour work week, it looks like $200 will buy you @ 5 hours of federal office movement. It takes at least what, six months to get a tax stamp for a can? Either they’re loosing money on this deal, allowing your paperwork to sit around for far longer than it needs or both.

    • Nicholas Chen

      You confuse money for work time. They take the money in. When they process the paperwork is a different issue. They are still taking in multiple requests all the time.

      • M.M.D.C.

        Of course. It was an attempt at levity. Your tax (stamp) dollars at work. That sort of thing.
        I mean, the whole thing is almost certainly an academic discussion anyway, right?

      • Matt Bennett

        Regardless, they still have to process the paperwork at roughly the same rate they take in the tax money. The cycle would come to a screeching halt if nobody got their paperwork approved and/or wait times became years long.

  • marathag

    in the 1920s, the Maxim silencer cost $7.00, with the barrel adapter.

    Adjusted for inflation, that’s around $94 dollars.

    So after 1934, that pretty killed the silencer business.
    That ATF stamp, adjusted for inflation is almost $3500

    • Sianmink

      Yes, at the time it was a de-facto ban on suppressors and short barrel rifle/shotguns due to the huge expense, as intended.

  • Lawbob

    This could all be done with regs. No where does the nfa mandate the long checks.

    You could still charge the $200 and have it be at the point of sale. A nics check is the check. Print off the configuration code and the form 4 is sent in the mail.

    • aka_mythos

      The vast majority of the time we wait for approval is just the ATF adding your NFA item to their registry, which is apparently still has a physical filing card system as part of that. Besides that the only check they do on you is running your information through the NICS system, so the check really is no different than when you buy a gun in store.

      IF they did nothing else, just modernizing the system would expedite the process to allow same day sales. Ultimately we all know the process is meant to dissuade people by being inconvenient.

      • nova3930

        I’ve had this discussion with people before. There is absolutely NO reason they NFA transfer process shouldn’t be automated and instant. It’s basically a NICs check with some additional Y/N questions to determine if the transfer is legal under state law. Parsing by state and checking against a simple answer database of the Y/N questions is easily automated via computer.

      • milesfortis

        The prints are actually sent to the FBI for processing. Probably at the lowest priority level.
        Some have said that the time frame is merely bureaucratic ” Because we can.” I think that’s closer to the truth since in the ’07-’09, right after the ATF had moved to WV (and hired a lot of local replacements), the transfer time was in the one month range, and that was post office to mailbox.

        • patrickw

          Ahhh the days of low demand NFA.

          Now SBRs and cans are all the rage and they have less examiners to process 10x more applications

      • patrickw

        They also run your peints through AFIS… which LIVEScan does automatically, but the old paper process the NFA and FFLC use has to be sent to the FBI to be digitized then run, they still do this with enlistees and federal employees in some govt agencies as well. If they required a livescan and the paperwork and once NICS comes back OK and you pay at POS i would be fine. Excise tax fine. Just the current systems running on 1930s technology is rather ridiculous. There is no reason NFA should take that long or not be largely automated.

        • chrismalllory

          There is no reason why the NFA should not be declared unconstitutional. Excise taxes on rights are not fine. Background checks on rights are not fine.

          • Secundius

            @ chrismalllory.

            All you need is a 2/3 House Vote (290 Votes) from Congress, and your Good To Go. The Problem is, you’re talking about CONGRESS, “OUR CONGRESS”. The ONE”S that are Incapable of DOING ANYTHING…

  • Swarf

    The money collected from those tax stamps isn’t even a molecule in the drop in the bucket of Fed revenue stream, so don’t go excusing their crap on that argument.

    Y’all might not agree with a lot of what happens in Europe, but there, suppressors are just considered common courtesy. As they should be.

    Suppressor suppression is a continuation of the suppression of suppressed people that the NFA was all about in the first place.

    • Matt Bennett

      Exactly, the $200 for every silencer is such a negligible amount in the grand scheme of things, it will barely be a part of the debate.

      • patrickw

        And like a coke or heroin addict, every last little tiny grain is important, no matter if it is not even a microgram…. the govt hates giving up revenue. Even if it is just a few measily pennies. Heck have had the federal govt spend $25 to collect 37 cents from me before…. 37 cents that cost multitudes more to collect than to have written off, not to mention later they had to refund that 37 cents which cost even more money.

        So yes our fed govt, like communities that shut down a 6 year olds lemonade stand because they did not file and pay 5 bucks for a business license, is going to miss it and do anything to retain and maximize revenue, even if it costs them more to do so.

        • Bodie

          The overall .gov revenue from normal sales tax will far supersede the $200 flat tax as there will be a huge rise in sales. Furthermore, the taxes they would receive from the manufacturer’s as they procure more equipment and infrastructure, larger manufacturing centers, increase employee’s, and purchase higher volumes of materials, will all make these $200 stamps look like a bad dream of lost funding.

      • patrickw

        Besides with increased revenue from sales you know prices would decrease as sales increase as the market opens up… and i know i would eventually have one on every weapon.

        Also would make suppressed SBR by perm attached can far more common to avoid tax stamps… this a decrease in two stamps thus more lost revenue.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Never happen but im glad they are trying.

  • Theo Braunohler

    Yes, I’m sure Obama will sign this. lol

  • Shifting the Overton Window takes time. This is a good step in the correct direction.

  • David

    it’s good that they got it introduced, bravo. However nothing introduced this late in the year passes and very seldom does it ever even make it out of committee. I also think Nicholas’ comment below about compromising by removing SBR, SBS along with suppressors has merit. I’d like to see a great reduction in the potential “paperwork felonies”.

    The question now is, what do the advocating groups recommend for next steps?

    • Evan

      Elect a pro-gun Republican in 2016. Anyone but Trump or Hillary.

      • chrismalllory

        Sucker.

  • thedonn007

    So, when this passes, you should be able to roll your own?

    • milesfortis

      Simply: Yes.
      All you would have to do is follow your state laws.

      • Cal.Bar

        Except my state (KA) and most of the states with the greatest US population ban them specifically. So…. perhaps some day AFTER the SCOTUS decision we will get somewhere.

        • milesfortis

          “From little acorns do mighty oaks grow.”

      • AlDeLarge

        I don’t know about most states that allow them, but they’re illegal in Texas unless “the actor’s possession was pursuant to registration pursuant to the National Firearms Act.” They’d be completely illegal if you couldn’t register them, at least until the next legislative session.

  • Sianmink

    Get rid of the $200 suppressor stamp, have a 10% tax instead. Volume of sales would more than make up for it. Either way, I don’t think the $200 is what matters to anyone. About $27.5 million from NFA taxes last year, about half of that being suppressors. That’s a singular peanut in the federal budget.

    Doesn’t matter, cause even if it passes, Obama would veto it so hard it would leave a smoking crater in his desk.

    • BryanS

      Means a lot to us that are already trying to squeeze in shooting after a sizable chunk of our income goes to some form of taxation.

      • Sianmink

        I meant federally. Of course it matters to us on the purchasing end. Also makes cheap < $100 .22LR suppressors super-viable.

        • BryanS

          I want to have my hand at one of the freeze plug kits available out there for 22s. When you have access to several lathes, and the knowledge to use them, this would open the doors to saving a lot of hearing, and usher in a lot of experimentation.

    • nova3930

      I would say do the 10% as an excise tax on the manufacturing end like they do with firearms. Keep it simple for the purchaser.

  • BryanS

    Step in the right direction. They do fail the common sense portion of being a firearm, since they cannot fire a projectile through the means of exploding propellant. I would rather tehy be relegated to being an accessory like a scope or a pair of stocks.

    Its time to end this infringement.

  • wetcorps

    How much money do these tax stamps represent for the government? It seems to me that this very stamp makes suppressor pretty niche, and therefore not very profitable.
    They’d likely get at least as much in taxes when people rush in to buy suppressors by the crate in case they ever get banned/regulated again.

    • aevangel1

      Stats have it that there are around 800,000 registered suppressors; multiply that by $200 and you have a paltry $160 million total revenue, (not per year, total since 1934)

      This is not even a drop in the bucket in our bloated gubment’s budget.

  • ozzallos .

    “Sort of like keeping the cost of luggage and meal in the cost of an airplane ticket, I would not complain as much.”

    Faulty logic assumes they aren’t already collecting enough tax from other sources to compensate, or even the fact that there is no factual basis that longer processing times will result by removing the tax stamp.

    • Cymond

      Well, without the tax, more people would buy suppressors, increasing the workload on the desk jockeys, increasing wait times. It’s not like ATF is going to hire more people to process the forms.

  • Shmoe

    I really don’t understand the purpose of even the background check. You should be able to buy one off the shelf at Walmart. It’s not as though the silencer itself make a person without a gun dangerous. Though only conceivable public interest that would be threatened is the poaching issue; which, let’s be honest, is a pretty niche issue. The restriction on “silencers” is probably one of the most irrational.

    • patrickw

      Many long time Poachers have switched to those high end reverse draw crossbows by in large…. in part many are convicted felons since it is a felony in most every state

  • iksnilol

    I bet you would be able to avoid a SBR tax stamp if suppressors were taken off the NFA. Just permanently attach the suppressor or get an integrally suppressed barrel.

  • Jim Jones

    You are a very poor negotiator. You do not cede ground before being asked for it. SBRs and suppressors are becoming very popular due to the inflationary pressures on our currency, which means that $200 isn’t worth all that much these days. You want to give a boost of testosterone to the 2nd amendment, get cans and SBRs out of the ATF’s purview. We should be pushing for this right now before the government gets too accustomed to the new influx in cash. What would stop the .gov to raising the tax to $5k or $10k for a stamp? Nothing. Get suppressors and SBRs out of the ATF’s catalog.

    • Cymond

      Of course, if they raised the tax, it would negate “the inflationary pressures on our currency, which means that $200 isn’t worth all that much these days”. They could kiss that revenue stream goodbye.

  • Thionite

    It won’t pass because the president will veto it. Unless its bundled up with “must pass” legislation.

  • I can’t believe suppressors are restricted…here in NZ we buy them off the shelf, online or off our version of eBay unrestricted.

    They are very popular with hunters now and it make shooting with buddies when culling pleasant rather than painful especially when using something like a .22-250.

  • Mike Price

    I got a reply from a guy in Sweden to one of my posts. Said they can buy full auto guns with suppressors on them with no permit or tax stamp or red tape. Nice. They should have never been NFA item here.

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      Bullshit. Norwegian here. You can buy auto sears and full auto lowers, as the lower in not the serialised part. He cannot use them though, and they would be illegal if assembled into a gun. To be a registered collector (can own full auto), there is a lot of red tape. Suppressors require an application in Sweden, but it will be granted. In Norway, there are no red tape or paperwork for buying a suppressor.

      • Mike Price

        Maybe it was Norway. One guy I sent parts too in France said they could by suppressors too with no paper work.

        • iksnilol

          Suppressors are commonly available without or very little paperwork in Europe. Full auto on the other hand is a bit harder to get. By a bit I mean a lot.

        • patrickw

          Would not talk about exporting parts….. unless you had the proper state dept ITAR registration and approval

          • Mike Price

            You can as long as it is non major gun parts and under $100. But it’s a gray area too. I don’t send anything out of the US.

  • Kivaari

    I have seven of those stamps, and no longer have the guns they were attached to. And NFA-ATF has another $200, having cashed my check, but not having returned my copy with the new stamp.

  • Kivaari

    ATF would make a bunch of money if they would only process the forms in a faster manner. If you can own any other modern firearm, you qualify to have NFA guns. They can do a NICS check just like any dealer, and get a quick turn around. But, all the NFA guns make no sense having taxes applied to them.

  • Sheeple shepherd

    Yeah right Obama would never sign this into law

    • Evan

      Trump would veto it as soon as Obama would. His newfound claims to support the 2nd Amendment aside, Trump has always been anti-gun. The good thing is, Trump has approximately a 0% chance of becoming president. He won’t be the nominee, and if he is, he’s about the only one in the bunch who can basically guarantee a President Hillary Clinton. The man is a clown who has been able to fool fools with some empty comments that he (apparently correctly) thinks that people want to hear. Trump supporters insist on ignoring history and projecting any and all conservative ideas on the man, but a vote for Trump is a vote for Hillary, plain and simple.

      • Dave P.

        Go home, Jeb, you’re drunk.

        • Evan

          Notice how the Trumpbot doesn’t even attempt to answer any of my critiques on substance, and instead accuses me of being drunk (which I wasn’t) and supporting Jeb Bush (who I don’t, though I would grudgingly vote for him over Trump). Trump support is based 100% in imagination, none of it is even remotely grounded in reality. The man is a cancer who’s doing his absolute best to ensure that Hillary becomes president, whether that is his intent or not.

          • patrickw

            Bush is more likely to guarantee a Billary win than trump…. all depends on how many dead grandmas vote

          • Evan

            Bush wouldn’t be a great candidate either, but at least he has a decent record as governor of Florida and isn’t widely reviled like Trump is. This is what is wrong with the Republican party. The Democrats put up Hillary “the incompetent and corrupt harpy” Clinton, and we’re seriously considering running Trump, one of the few people imaginable who has higher unfavorable ratings. I wanted to vote for Walker, but Trump threw a wrench in that gear; I really like Bobby Jindal, but he doesn’t have a path to victory; I’m voting for Rubio or Cruz.

      • chrismalllory

        A president Romney or McCain would have guaranteed new gun bans on the Federal level after Sandy Hook. Both parties are corrupt and oppose the rights of free men.

    • uisconfruzed

      Trump’s only principles are his ego and wallet.
      Cruz would sign it.

  • Evan

    Without the nuisance of jumping through ATF hoops to buy suppressors, significantly more people will buy them. With a huge increase in the potential market, prices will likely go down anyway. I don’t own a suppressor because I live in a city with a CLEO who won’t sign off on NFA items. If I didn’t have to deal with all that nonsense, I’d own at least one. I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation. The more suppressors they can sell, the less profit they need to make per unit to stay in the black.

    • uisconfruzed

      Get a trust. My CLEO won’t sign off either, I’ve five cans and an SBR.

  • Mike Price

    It’s probably a money losing program for the government anyway and needs dumped.

  • Matt Bennett

    Was there anything possibly good to come from talking about how unlikely it is to pass? We need to be encouraging people to get behind this legislation, and nobody is going to support something they are told (especially by a respected media source) doesn’t have a chance.

  • Matt Bennett

    Also, surely people must be wondering about the current price of suppressors?! They make suppressor ownership just as exclusive as the tax stamp/paperwork does, if not more so. It’s hard to get political momentum if 75% of potential suppressor buyers cannot afford the product we are trying to “legalize”.

    • patrickw

      A good long lasting can ranges from under 400 up through 2k. Weight and mounting are the biggest differences in all but low end (those typically under 700 for rifle and 500 for handgun) and reliability in handgun cans.

      If a MFG was able to grow and move enough volume and have a good automated production process good cans would come down in cost greatly. Also would open the door for 200 dollar cans make of aluminum made to last a few hunting seasons or for casual users as well as light cans made for carry use that use a wipe and baffle combination

    • Cymond

      The current price of suppressors is heavily influenced by the cost and hassle of buying them. No one wants to pay a $200 tax on a cheap suppressor that isn’t very quiet or will wear out. If you don’t like a pistol, you can sell it for almost as much as you paid for it, but the transfer tax guarantees that you lose at least $200 ever time you swap suppressor models.

      $500 pistol
      -$400 sell pistol to a buddy
      $500 buy a different pistol
      =$600 total cost for a $500 gun

      $300 suppressor
      $200 tax stamp
      -$200 sell suppressor to a buddy (who has to pay the $200 transfer tax)
      $300 buy a different suppressor
      $200 tax stamp on second suppressor
      =$800 total cost for a $300 suppressor

      As you can see, there is a very strong reason to buy the right suppressor the first time. Hence, people tend to choose high quality. (And that’s not counting the bureaucratic red tape!) If suppressors didn’t have a tax, there would be less fear of wasting money on “economy” models.

      • Matt Frikin Bennett

        You are making the assumption that a really expensive suppressor is quality because it is really expensive. And what kind of person sells a crappy suppressor to their friend? 😉

        • Cymond

          I don’t assume that price guarantees quality, but quality tends to be expensive. Titanium & inconel aren’t cheap, neither is time on a CNC machine.

          Also, I’m reminded of this. There’s always a compromise.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b18d181ae4d35a852af0a49c5b1f5c09aa1849bfab6b7842ac4831918c4acbc0.png
          A cheap design is going to sacrifice weight, durability, performance, or some other important feature.

          Oh, and I know it was just a joke, but I wouldn’t sell anything crappy to anyone, not a pistol, not a lawnmower. But sometimes a specific item may be a poor match for a user.

  • uisconfruzed

    I’m not willing to compromise at the beginning of the debate to relinquish $200 per can to the gubmnt, for a muffler that they’d fine you if you didn’t have on your car!
    The gubmnt already has $1200 for my six stamps.

  • Phil Meador

    Guns are not taxed, why should surpressors be. Your logic of manufacturers the tax is flawed, businesses do not pay taxes, they just collect the taxes for the government. The tax is just added the cost of any goods we purchase.

  • jcitizen

    Couch the law in terms of a work place hearing safety issue, or as “noise pollution” to make the greenie weenies happy, and they’d probably slip right under the radar. You could claim it as an addendum of OSHA or something! HA!