Hearing Protection Act: 2020 Status
For a few years now, we’ve heard talk of the Hearing Protection Act. It has promised to make silencer ownership easy and free of burdensome paperwork, expensive tax stamps, and Federal registration. However, like many bills that promise to reform government and reduce the power of the ATF, there are a lot of rumors, questions, and confusion.
Because this bill promised to deregulate silencers, a lot of propaganda kicked in, and more than a few gun owners are left wondering about the Hearing Protection Act – where it came from, what is the current status and has it actually passed? Well, the short answer is that it did not, but here’s some more information to help you understand what was proposed and what happened.
What is The Hearing Protection Act?
The Hearing Protection Act was a bill first introduced in Congress in 2017 that sought to remove silencers from the purview of the National Firearms Act of 1934. This would have done away with the Federal registration of silencers and allowed them to be sold by any FFL and subject to the same background check as common firearms.
Many gun owners believed with the Republican Party controlling the White House and all of Congress, the Hearing Protection Act would quickly pass. However, it did not gain the traction many hoped for, and it became a symbol of the Republican Party failing to advance the interests of gun owners in Congress when they had the chance.
Had it passed, silencers would be freely sold by any FFL holder and transferred on an ATF form 4473 just like a rifle or shotgun. It was hoped that this deregulation would increase silencer ownership and put the United States on par with many European nations that encourage or require the use of silencers in many shooting and hunting situations. Apparently, this is the one piece of European style gun legislation that did not sit well with the anti-gun left.
Hearing Protection Act Status as of 2020
The current status of the Hearing Protection Act is dead. Sadly, this bill has never advanced through Congress, and in the present political climate will not. When the GOP held both houses, it never was passed, and now that Congress is split, it simply has no chance at all for serious consideration. The fact that we are now in the middle of a heated presidential election campaign and a controversial impeachment investigation only further ensures that the Hearing Protection Act will not be going anywhere.
Did The Hearing Protection Act Pass?
The Hearing Protection Act has never passed both houses of Congress and is not currently being considered for any vote or hearing. Because the Democrats hold the House of Representatives, we will not be seeing the Hearing Protection Act considered in 2019 or 2020.
When Will The Hearing Protection Act Pass?
The Hearing Protection Act is effectively dead in the water. Despite being reintroduced in early 2019, the Democrat-controlled House simply will not permit any sort of pro-gun bill to advance to a vote, let alone pass.
At the time of this writing, there is absolutely no hope for any sort of pro-gun legislation to see the light of day, let alone wind up on President Trump’s desk. Plus, the President has been extremely unfriendly towards silencers at times. With the 2020 election season starting to ramp up, we cannot expect something like the Hearing Protect Act to even show up on any politician’s radar given all the other things currently going on in DC.
Presently too, the Supreme Court has not shown any willingness to deregulate silencers and upheld a lower court decision that found they do not constitute “bearable arms” and thus are not afforded the same protections as common firearms. This only makes future silencer deregulation harder to accomplish.
The Future of Silencer Laws
Right now it is unlikely we will see much traction in deregulating silencer ownership. The current 2020 election season seems to be mixed up in various attempts by the left to promote the most unpopular and possibly senile candidates possible, while the GOP is content to sit around and maintain the status quo.
The GOP never passed the Hearing Protection Act when they had the chance, and there is no current public groundswell of support for the bill. Getting the public and Congress willing to have a sane, rational discussion about silencers doesn’t seem to be something that will be happening anytime soon. For the moment, we have to chalk the Hearing Protection Act up as another victim of a highly divided America that can’t seem to agree on anything, no matter who is in charge.
Right now, there seems very little public interest in promoting the Hearing Protection Act. It is difficult to say why, but at the time of this writing, things like COVID-19, stock market uncertainty, and the madness of a presidential election year have pushed real gun reform onto the back burner.
We’d like to see sensible NFA reform but folks have been saying that since 1934, so, unfortunately, there is little reason to expect it any time soon.
How to Buy a Silencer (Right Now)
There are two ways you can get a silencer right now, instead of hoping for a revival of the Hearing Protection Act.
You can use an ATF Form 1 to make and register your own silencer. When filed electronically in the name of a trust, approval takes a couple of months. There are a lot of mostly functional “solvent trap” kits that will let you make a silencer that works, although it is difficult to achieve high levels of sound reduction and precision drilling in most home workshops.
Or, you can buy a ready-made, guaranteed, and factory-built silencer from Silencer Central.
We’re licensed in all 42 US States where silencer ownership is legal. We also offer a direct shipping program where you can do the entire silencer purchase by mail, and even get your silencer mailed directly to you!
Check out our product line, and if you aren’t sure which suppressor is right for you, drop us a line, and one of our expert staff will work with you to find the right suppressor for any application, from rimfire to shotgun!