Sen. Capito introduces Hearing Protection Act aimed at changing gun suppressor regulations


This photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 21 2020, shows firearms and suppressors on display at SHOT Show, the annual trade show for the gun industry in Las Vegas. The show is sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the lobbying group that represents gunmakers. Gunmakers and companies making an array of accessories put their wares on display each year. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and 14 of her Senate colleagues this week reintroduced the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). The legislation would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like a regular firearm, which the 15 Senators said will benefit recreational gun users and sportsmen and women by providing better access to hearing protection equipment.

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 24: Ian Brabender helps a customer buying a gun suppressor at WEX Gunworks on March 24, 2021 in Delray Beach, Florida. U.S. President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to “immediately pass” legislation to help curb gun violence in the county. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“I am proud to defend the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding West Virginians and support sportsmen and women across our state,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation would remove the federal transfer process, including the expensive transfer tax levied on purchasers, and replace it with the instantaneous NICS background check system. This commonsense change would cut red tape and provide West Virginia’s recreational gun users increased access to needed hearing protection equipment.”

The HPA would:

· Reclassify suppressors to regulate them like traditional firearms.

· Remove suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act.

In this photo taken Jan. 27, 2017, Knox Williams, president and executive director of the Georgia-based American Suppressor Association, attaches a silencer to a long gun at a range in Atlanta. They are the stuff of legend, wielded by hit men and by James Bond. For decades, buying a silencer for a firearm has been as difficult as buying a machine gun, requiring a background check that can take close to a year. Now, emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as president, the industry has renewed a push in Congress to ease those restrictions, arguing that it’ll help preserve the hearing of gun users. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

· Replace the overly-burdensome federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, making the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to that as for a rifle or shotgun.

· Tax suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the NFA, putting more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies.

The HPA would not change any laws in states that already prevent suppressors, nor does it get rid of the requirement for a background check.

The Hearing Protection Act is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Suppressor Association, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association, according to a news release from Capito’s office.

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