A strengthened version of The Hearing Protection Act, a piece of legislation that seeks to remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act and make them as easy to purchase as a firearm, was recently attached to Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act.
According to this story from outdoorwire.com, the House Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing for today in which the Federal Lands Subcommittee will hear a discussion draft of the SHARE Act, which is being championed in a bipartisan manner by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chairs Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Representative Gene Green (D-TX).
The legislation is a comprehensive package that covers a swath of hunting, fishing, and outdoor related issues. Included in the package is Title XVII, a strengthened version of the Hearing Protection Act, the story says.
Since the HPA was reintroduced, the American Suppressor Association has met with the ATF several times, the story says, to discuss technical amendments to the bill’s language.
Here’s a breakdown of the amendments to the HPA that have been incorporated into the version in the SHARE Act.
• First, suppressors would be removed from the National Firearms Act and all its rules. They would be subject to the same instant NICS background check as firearms. Additionally, a refundable tax credit would be issued to anyone who has purchased a suppressor since the Hearing Protection Act was introduced.
• The bill ensures that suppressors will remain legal in all 42 states where they are currently legal, meaning states wouldn’t be able to pass their own laws banning or restricting suppressors if the Act becomes federal law.
• States would also be prevented from levying their own taxes or registration requirements on suppressors.
• However, there is no help for folks in states like New Jersey, where suppressors are already outlawed regardless of federal tax stamps. In those eight states, they will remain prohibited.
• If the legislation passes, the ATF will have exactly one year to destroy all its suppressor-related records from the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR), in which every suppressor transfer is included.
• In order to clarify which parts of the suppressor have to be regulated via FFL transfer and background checks, and which parts are just parts, the legislation includes a provision for developing what it calls a “keystone part” definition. Basically, it would designate a part that all suppressors have in common to bear the unit’s serial number. This means that individual parts, like pistons or endcaps, won’t require serialization and can be purchased over the counter.
• A 10 percent Pittman-Robertson excise tax will be charged on the manufacture of every new suppressor. The same tax is currently imposed on all Title I firearms—which are guns that conform to the rules most of us know by heart: semi-auto rifles with a minimum 16-inch barrel and 26-inch overall length, shotguns with a minimum of 18-inches of barrel and 26 inches overall, and semi-auto pistols—which are all non-NFA guns.