06.15.21

Lankford Simplifies Process for Oklahoma Gun Owners to Access Hearing Protection

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to lead a group of 13 senators to introduce the Hearing Protection Act (HPA), which would reclassify firearm sound suppressors to regulate them like a regular firearm. The measure benefits recreational gun users and provides them better access to hearing protection equipment. 

Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Marshall (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

“I firmly support the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms for all law-abiding citizens. We should not burden law-abiding gun owners by overregulating the purchase of sound suppressors for firearms,” said Lankford. “Despite what we see in Hollywood movies, sound suppressors do not make firearms silent. They simply reduce the noise and are valuable tools for hunting and other shooting sports. Even with a suppressor, guns are still loud. This common-sense change helps address this misconception about ‘silencers’ and ensures law-abiding gun owners can purchase sound suppressors for hearing protection without excessive federal regulation and hundreds of dollars in taxes.”

“Law-abiding Americans enjoying the recreational freedoms provided under the Second Amendment should not have to wade through overly-burdensome regulations in order to protect their hearing,” said Crapo. “The common Hollywood-portrayed misconceptions about suppressors are not grounded in factual science, and create unnecessary burdens on responsible gun owners. The Hearing Protection Act will benefit Idaho’s sportswomen and men by ensuring they have adequate hearing protection needed while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports.”

Background

On average, suppressors diminish the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction provided by earplugs or earmuffs. By further comparison, the most effective suppressors on the market can only reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110-120 decibels. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB). Currently regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA), suppressors are subject to additional regulatory burdens. 

The HPA would:

  • Reclassify suppressors to regulate them like traditional firearms;
  • Remove suppressors from regulation under the NFA;
  • 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 the process for a rifle or shotgun; and
  • 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 HPA is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Suppressor Association, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association.

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