What Happened to the HEARING PROTECTION ACT?… Sadly, Nothing So Far

Hearing Protection Act

We have heard very little about the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 3799) since it was introduced into Congress last October. For those that missed its initial media buzz, what the Hearing Protection Act would effectively do is eliminate the $200 Tax Stamp required for silencers and change the way you purchase them. Instead of going through a trust process or a long NFA background check, silencers would fall under the same category as traditional firearms requiring only a Federal NICS check. This would make silencers a lot more desirable for those who have not bought them yet.

Now fast forward 8 months after Representative Matt Salmon [R-AZ] proposed the bill… where are we now?

Not much movement has occurred with the bill, but it has gained more co-sponsors. This is positive because it speaks volumes about its acceptance by our representatives. It currently has 76 Co-Sponsors (74 Republicans/ 2 Democrats) with 435 total members in the House of Representatives. That translates into just 17.5% of our representatives openly backing the bill so far.

Aside from the increase in Co-Sponsors, no action has been taken on the bill since November 23rd of last year. That is when the Hearing Protection Act was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Sadly, it has sat there ever since.

With the July 13th deadline looming for Obama’s “NFA Loophole,” it would be a tremendous victory for shooters everywhere if the Hearing Protection Act were to pass. It is highly unlikely though to gain enough traction where it would pass in the next 3 weeks. As we come closer to our election this fall and see more of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on TV, the idea of firearms and silencers should creep closer to the front of people’s minds. This will hopefully motivate our representatives to act on HR 3799 as opposed to letting it sit dormant.

If you would like to read the bill in its entirety, CLICK HERE.

To see the Co-Sponsors of the Hearing Protection Act, CLICK HERE.

The outdoors, fitness and anything related to firearms are my passions. I am a S&W Armorer, Glock Armorer, reloader and am coping with an addiction to classic S&W and Colt revolvers (by buying more revolvers). I’ve been a guest writer for Sierra Bullets and love long walks to the gun range.


  • Harry’s Holsters

    I’ll be calling my rep next week. I spoke with his office when this was introduced but he wasn’t on the list. He’s usually good on second amendment stuff.

  • C. Her

    I could so use my $400 back to buy more can’s.

  • Anonymoose

    Only 2 Ohio reps are on the list, and I doubt my rep will join (one of the few Democrat reps we have in Ohio).

    • TrollingThunder

      You won’t know until you try. Contact him and let him know that you want him to consider the bill.

      • Anonymoose

        Fudgie-wudgie supports Cleveland’s antigun stance and continued decay. I’ve done this kind of thing before and gotten back generic letters with the (D) platform.

  • TDog

    Pardon my ignorance on the matter, but is there any legislative or regulatory definition of what defines a silencer in terms of sound level? Or do they view a silencer as a product of intent rather than performance?

    • Samantha J

      If they can measure any noise reduction at all, then it is a silencer. That is applying the letter of the law.

      “18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(24)
      The term “Firearm Silencer” or “Firearm Muffler” means any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for the use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.”

      • PK

        “any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a
        portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or
        redesigned, and intended”

        That intended part is very important. That means if you make a silencer, and intended to make a silencer, even if it doesn’t work you still have a silencer by law. Very important distinction, otherwise I could play around with form 1 cans and if one didn’t work, chop it up and forget it… because if it doesn’t reduce sound it’s not a silencer, right?

        That’s the ATF stance, anyway. If it meant to be a silencer, it is. Doesn’t have to work.

        • Bull

          Hm. Portable? So it would be legal in a stationary testbed then…

          • PK

            Yes, absolutely. Sometimes on public ranges you’ll come across a tunnel made from a 55gal drum or a bunch of tires. That’s a silencer of sorts, though much different than the usual muzzle type. It does help with the sound, especially for people to the sides of the shooter.

          • Rob

            So hypothetically, you could make a silencer that is mounted to say a sort of articulating arm, mounted to the concrete floor (or ground) at a range (or back yard) and attache your weapon, shoot, and no NFA law has been broken? (Its fixed, not portable)(think sort of a pedestal gun mount that the can is attached to the pedestal, not the gun)

            I always thought as long as the device does not actually attach to the firearm its not a silencer. If something that’s fixed in place is good to go it really changes hunting from a fixed deer stand.

          • PK

            Hypothetically nothing, you’re describing a legal item per US Federal law. If it can be removed, however, without destroying it…

          • Pod

            I’ve seen gunsmiths and places like forensics labs have these special enclosures where you can fire a pistol into it and safely retrieve the fired round. It muffles the sound of the gunshot, but since it’s this ginormous device that can’t easily be moved, it’s not considered a silencer.

    • PK

      Intent, mostly. You can intend an item to quiet a gunshot, but have it poorly made/designed and actually make the gun louder… and it’s still a silencer in law.

      And yes, people have been convicted for a “silencer” that doesn’t work or make the gun louder. Doesn’t matter, intent was there.

      • TDog

        Thanks for clearing that up! 🙂

    • Tess

      ATF has stated any reduction over 3 dB is a silencer when going after muzzle brakes.

      • PK

        Source? That would be the first concrete number released by the ATF on what is/isn’t a silencer.

        There are purpose-built shotgun barrel extensions that greatly reduce the sound and function as a silencer, but because they’re not intended to do that and it’s a byproduct of the primary use, they’re unregulated. “Metro extension” or some such.

        • iksnilol

          But the CAR-15 flash hider (the 5.5″ long one) that isn’t really about silencing the weapon counts as a silencer. Logic.

          • Steve Truffer

            It diminishes the report. Also it has baffles, and that was enough back then for them to make it a no-no piece.

          • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

            That’s not a flash hider. It’s a moderator. It’s basically a very poor silencer designed to bring the CAR-15’s noise level and concussion down to the same as an M16 (20″ barrel).

            It has baffles in it. It’s absolutely a silencer. It just happens to also be a flash hider.

      • TDog


  • Maxpwr

    The President will make signing that bill his top legislative priority.

    • RickfromPaso

      Trump 2016!

      • I’m with you on that; from one Rick to another.

    • I hope that’s sarcasm.

  • iowaclass

    You can’t get something for nothing, and most congressmen are not going to go for a law that lets you re-sell a silencer to a stranger in a parking lot without any background check like you can do now with pistols, rifles and shotguns.

    If you want this law passed you will have to mandate background checks on every change of ownership of the silencer — even between two private parties who do not have FFLs.

    That’s reality. Sorry.

    • Ben Pottinger

      Your absolutely right. You’ll never convince them to allow you to carry a concealed firearm without first giving something up. No wait.. ok ok, try this one: you’ll never convince them to let you carry a concealed firearm without having a permit to prove… wait, no that doesn’t work either….

      You see, you can continue to moan about the impending firearms owner doomsday or you can take 5 minutes to email/call/write your rep and tell him to support the bill. Because so much of the country thinks like you do (ah what’s the point, waste of time) each person that actually does contact them has significantly more pull.

      My rep became a cosponsor in October 2015. Is yours? If not start emailing him every week.

    • SeeHowSillyYouAre?

      “…mandate background checks on every change of ownership of the silencer…”

      Except for criminals, right?

      I mean, you don’t really expect C-R-I-M-I-N-A-L-S to obey the law do you?

      • iowaclass

        No. I expect criminals to violate the law, and further, I expect them to get caught the harder we make the law to evade. One way to make the law harder for them to evade is to deny access from lawful sellers without background checks.

    • David Harmon

      Any mildly intelligent criminal can scrounge together $500 for a mini-lather, $60 worth of tooling, and about $100 worth of materials and figure out how to make their own suppressor with a reasonable expectation of it being functional and quite effective. It’s not like we are talking about cutting edge technology here.

      Heck there are guys making registered suppressors with oil filters.
      Having these things illegal does nothing other than restrict people whom are interested in legal ownership from acquiring them, which in turn restricts economic activity regarding the industry.

      Also, My Rep is already a sponsor, you should petition yours and get them in-line with your interests.

  • When it’s easier to own something firearm related in the UK than it is in the US, the laws have got a serious problem in their practical application.

    • John Micheal Stacey

      Have you ever been hunting in the UK? There’s all kinds of paperwork to buying a gun. All gun owners are vetted out before they can buy a gun.

      • Malleus Veritas

        The USA rebelled against the UK because of your tyrannical laws and cavalier attitude towards civil rights.

      • He was referring to silencers. in the UK, guns themselves are difficult, but once you have a gun, the silencer is no big deal.

  • OJS

    Silencers. Good God. They are trying to outlaw hunks of metal in CA. Outlaw mail order of ammunition. Outlaw semi-automatic rifles. Silencers are a bloody pipe dream.

    • steveday72

      For California yes, but not for sensible places.

      • OJS

        the real silencers are liberals, who want to destroy the 1st amendment right after the 2nd!

      • AlDeLarge

        It’s also the correct legal term. You put “silencer” on your Form I or IV when you apply to build or buy one.

  • Bob in Houston

    This may be a stupid question but what crime can you be convicted of that allows you to buy a firearm but not own an NFA item like a can or an SBR?

    • Cymond

      None that I’m aware of. I don’t know why the NFA process is so slow. From what I understand, the actual time spent by an examiner on an application isn’t that long, the delay is mostly the large workload compared to the number of employees.

      • Pod

        Exactly. The paperwork is examined by hand. The details may be matched up by computer, but there’s a guy typing them in and adding it to the NFRTR aka “the registry”. The ASA did a behind-the-scenes video of the NFA branch awhile back, the examiners are in a small office and they are surrounded by boxes of paperwork. The actual background check (done either at the NFA for individuals and at the point of sale for trustees) is just NICS.

        The slowdown is sheer volume.

    • Norm Glitz

      Living in New Jersey is the crime that prevents me from owning one. Almost every other kind of firearm, yes. But no suppressors or SBRs or . . .

  • gunsandrockets

    Meanwhile in California…


    Spurred by outrage over recent mass shootings, California lawmakers on Thursday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a sweeping package of gun control bills, including a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, background checks for those buying ammunition and new restrictions on homemade firearms.

    • Ben Pottinger

      California is not the USA. Are we surprised when Chicago implements some new nonsense? Remember, CA is home to Hollywood, one of the higest density strongholds of rich liberals. Even with a giant tax base and tons of rich people it’s still going broke, and often seems to have problems providing first world services like power (they buy most of their power from neighboring states because they have EPA’ed away their ability to construct power generation facilities).

      California and Illinois are both excellent examples of how poorly our government system works sometimes. Both of those states are mostly “red” except for the urban strongholds which are bright blue. So you get these situations where the cities “rule” over the rest of the state.

  • JLR84

    Sorry folks, this isn’t going to happen, at least not any time soon. Chances of rolling back any gun control at the Federal level is pretty much nil, after Orlando the gun-control side is doing a full-court press and we’re playing defense.

    I don’t like it either, but it is what it is.

    • steveday72

      If you don’t even try then you will never accomplish anything in life.

    • Ben Pottinger

      Again, have you emailed your reps or just posted a doomsday proclamation on a Web blog? I remember people telling me CCW would never happen, now it’s almost everywhere. Imagine what they would have said about constitutional carry?

      I remember as recently as 2006 when I boughty first suppressor everyone who saw it was stunned and amazed you could even own one. Most shooters had never seemed one. Now it’s “no big deal” and nearly every trip to a public range I see one or people are talking about them. My mom and pop indoor range now sells them and rents them!

      It’s more than doable but it takes us all wking together. Use the links provided above to contact your reps. Do it once every few weeks until they cosponsor it. If he is a member of the committee call and annoy him to bring it up and not sit on it.

      Keep the pressure on like we did with CCW. It may not happen with this bill but it will happen. There are more gun owners now than ever before. The libs had to have a temper tantrum to even be heard and still all their bills died. Keep the pressure on.

  • Cymond

    What has happened with the Hearing Protection Act?

    Pretty much what everybody expected to happen: nothing.

  • Pod

    I don’t see the HPA going anywhere until the next legislative go-around. Especially after Orlando. Suppressors already have a bad rap and I don’t think any legislator wants to be “the guy” who made it easier to get “evil” silencers.

  • Bob

    Political Theater….. They’ve done this numerous times in Florida when it comes to Open Carry and Campus Carry. Bills get co-sponsors, are supported, and then allowed to die in subcommittee.

  • Shayne

    Let it sit until after the election. If it goes to the President’s desk now it will be vetoed. If Hillary gets in then owning a silencer will probably become a felony. Just make sure you vote.

  • jfsoren

    It’s an election year. Your elected representatives have many more important things to NOT do anything about. It would be a REAL disaster if the same back-bencher who has been sucking off the Government teat for 20 or more years and accomplishing NOTHING would fail to get reelected. TERM LIMITS FOR EVERYONE!

  • supergun

    The democrats act like they want to protect us so much. They do nothing to protect the hearing loss of millions of Americans, but they will fine you and throw you in prison if you don’t pay the illegal tax on the silencers.

  • DistalRadius

    Death by subcommitee. Woop.

  • John Micheal Stacey

    Folks can own silencers. Don’t see why a background check and $200 is a big deal.

    • Norm Glitz

      It’s the “Mother, may I” factor.

    • Red McCloud

      The ‘big deal’ is that you also have to do annoying paperwork and wait MONTHS to get said paperwork approved. It’s a ton of extra hassle.

    • AlDeLarge

      And the 9-18 month waiting period

  • Jones2112

    What happened? I tell ya happened, the traitors in congress are too damn busy trying pass more gun control laws…they don’t give a crap about what the people want, its all about what they want…

  • nagantino

    Yes your right. Many in the UK will be surprised to hear so much is required to own a silencer. In N. Ireland though we still can own and shoot revolver and pistol but only after a rigorous police check. It’s complicated but it works.

  • Speaking of hearing protection, I’ve learned that it’s best to take your hearing aids out while using the hearing muffs. I test my weapons in my basement trap. Probably best to take them out when shooting outside also.

  • Core

    Let’s sign a petition and get r done.