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Hearing Protection Act 2017

"H.R. 367 Hearing Protection Act of 2017" Duncan, (R-TN 2nd District)

Introduced 1/9/17, assigned to Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, referred 2/6, still there 2/28/17.

The Gist:
When this bill is enacted, silencers are removed from the restrictive NFA law (National Firearms Act, dating back to 1934). The $200 "transfer tax" ends for all transactions from Oct. 22, 2015 and going forward. Silencers become treated as ordinary firearms, subject to the same manufacturing, possession and sales rules as ordinary long guns and sidearms, at the federal and state levels.

A person lawfully getting or having one will be treated as if they meet any registration and licensing required under the National Firearms Act. A law within a state that interferes with making, transferring, using, possessing or transporting a silencer, or imposes a tax, or requires a mark, record keeping or registration of a silencer, "shall have no force or effect."

Basically, if the statute operates as intended silencers become regulated only under the gun laws the public is familiar with, in 18 USC §921 and beyond ("et seq." in Latin). If there was stock in a silencer company, it would be a smart buy. Home manufacture for personal use would fit within the law. On passage we could reasonably expect a slew of new firms, models, integral pistol designs, holsters and more.

Just nudge government out of the way, economy flourishes, textbook theory proves itself again, I love saying that every time it happens.

Potential snags are everywhere unfortunately. Some states will hate this, feds telling them what to do, they'll be tempted to sue, to declare it unconstitutional. Cities get around tax bans... by imposing "fees." The lists, as all lists do, leave wiggle room, look again, watch some city will try to "certify" the products, that's not registration, right? The definition of silencer is deleted from the NFA statute, and then anyone getting or having one is treated as having registered and licensed it. That's sort of odd, though it does address the many little tax, transfer, approval and transport burdens the law also would require. The definitions in the regular gun laws would likely apply (this is stuck in tax law, Title 26 Internal Revenue Code).

To help make things difficult to understand, Congress refers to "Section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986" and amending, striking out, and adding language. They could instead refer to our statute directly (26 USC §5845a), which is easy to find and read, and say: Delete this from "(a)," the list of weapons:

"(7) any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code);"

NOTE: You can find this section on page 260 of ourbook Gun Laws of America.

Silencers are environmentally friendly devices, contributing to more peaceful surroundings, with excellent health benefits in protecting hearing and lowering stress. The muffled report allows for easier placement of practice ranges, and improves training, with better communication between student and instructor. If OSHA was doing its job, silencers would be available at Walgreens and Rite Aid.


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  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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