Hearing Protection Act introduced, removing silencers from NFA
Silencers, or suppressors if you please, have been regulated by the National Firearms Act or NFA of 1934. Since that act any device that suppresses the report of a firearm must be transferred through the NFA, requiring a lengthy transfer time from a few months to a year. There is also a $200 tax involved in the form of a stamp. Once transferred to an individual must keep on hand the paperwork and tax stamp anytime he brings his NFA item out of storage.
The Hearing Protection Act by Congressman Matt Salmon of Arizona, is legislation that would remove silencers from such regulations of the NFA. The bill is endorsed by The American Suppressor Association and National Rifle Association.
Current regulations require purchasers to mail or efile their application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF), pay the $200 tax, and pass an background check. Due to having to have such information as the serial number and model of the silencer for the application, in most cases you have to pay for the silencer up front. Once it arrives to your dealer, which taxes a month or so you then begin your paperwork. Under the Hearing Protection Act there will be no application or tax stamp. Instead silencers would be treated as firearms where you would fill out a form 4473 at your local dealer and pass the National Criminal Instant Background Check or NICS for short. If you pass the NICS check, you walk out the door with your silencer. If this bill is signed into law, taxes paid after 10-22-15 will be refunded.
This makes perfect sense as silencers have become much more popular in the past several years, overwhelming the BATF with approval forms, stretching out the already long wait times for the form to be returned. As of now it is legal to hunt with a silencers in thirty-seven states and forty-one states allow silencers to be owned by private citizens. While silencers do not completely eliminate a firearms report, especially on rifles firing supersonic ammunition, it does reduce that noise signature enough, in most cases, for the firearm to be operated safely without hearing protection. Also, as I have said often, it helps gun owners reduce their footprint a bit through reduction of noise pollution.