Gun enthusiasts have waited years for responsible suppressor/silencer legislation to be heard in Congress and after a change in strategy, it might finally happen.
The Hearing Protection Act of 2017 seeks to make silencers, which decrease the volume of sound produced by firearms, less burdensome to purchase and own. The bill was introduced in June of 2017 but has gone nowhere. Now, a bi-partisan bill might help it find relaxed silencer regulations on their way to a vote.
H.R.3668, the Share Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in early September with co-sponsors from both parties. The bill focuses on hunting and fishing regulations but also contains a section on hearing protection and silencers/suppressors.
Title XV (15) ‘Hearing Protection’ opens with section 1502 “equal treatment of silencers and firearms” in which the bill largely gives suppressors/silencers the same legal status as long guns – shotguns and rifles. That would mean that whatever is needed to purchase a shotgun or rifle in a state is all that can be required to purchase, own or transport a silencer.
The bill also takes care to make sure that states cannot impose their own nefarious restrictions on silencers, lest they be in conflict with federal law – if it passes.
“Suppressor” is often used in the firearms community as the devices reduce the sound a firearm makes but does not truly silence the weapon. “Silencer” is expressly mentioned in the National Firearms Act and covers any device that reduces the amount of noise produced by a firearm.
The biggest obstacle for 2017 passage may be time itself. The legislature has been tasked with taking up Tax Reform, immigration reform, health care reform and hurricane relief. Adding on a bill that doesn’t have as broad support from voters may push it into an election year and that would guarantee it not coming to the floor.