NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised Sen. Mike Crapo’s (R-Idaho) introduction of the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (S. 59).
“This legislation will enable gun owners to have better access to hearing protection products and improve safety for the shooting sports by removing extensive wait times for burdensome paperwork processing that does not advance public safety,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “NSSF is appreciative of Sen. Crapo’s leadership on this firearms safety issue and his willingness to stand alongside lawful American gun owners, hunters, and shooting sports enthusiasts.”
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 would allow gun owners to practice additional safety measures when participating in the shooting sports. It would protect against hearing loss and make it easier for shooting ranges to avoid noise complaints from neighboring property owners. Additionally, it would also make the shooting sports safer for hunters in situations where wearing hearing protection isn’t practical. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists any exposure to noise over 140 decibels causes immediate and irreparable hearing loss. Handguns and rifles create a muzzle report beyond this threshold. Suppressors, which are essentially like mufflers on a car, reduce noise associated with gunfire to what is experienced when wearing ear plugs or ear muffs, despite pop-culture portrayal that suppressors completely silence firearms.
Suppressors have the added benefit of reducing recoil which increases accuracy, critical to ethical hunting.
Suppressors have been available more than 100 years, legal to own in 42 states, and legal to use while hunting in 40 states. The growing popularity of these products now results in delays in processing the paperwork up to nine months. This bill does not deregulate suppressors, however. They would remain regulated under the Gun Control Act of 1968. Federally licensed firearms retailers would still maintain detailed sales records subject to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives audit and conduct a background check on all purchases just as they do now.
Suppressors are widely available in Europe and other parts of the world and their use has long been mandated in many countries because of their safety attributes.
Similar legislation, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 367), was introduced in the House by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and John Carter (R-Texas) and is supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Rifle Association, and American Suppressor Association.