Guest post by Ed Schoppman of Silent Legion Suppressors
With all of the crazy buzz about the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) and how it will be on President Trump’s desk for signature within his first 90 days, I think we should take a hard, brutal look at its chances. We’ll compare the positive forces (tailwinds) with the negative ones (headwinds) and clearly show why people should stop the wishful waiting and act now.
- Americans are waking up to the benefit, even the necessity, of shooting suppressed. In several countries it’s considered downright rude to shoot or hunt without a suppressor and smart people everywhere agree.
- Several organizations including the NSSF, the NRA and the American Suppressor Association (ASA) are behind the idea of the HPA and some are actively lobbying for its approval.
- Firearms manufacturers are, more and more, making guns that are suppressor-ready.
- Most field offices of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are in favor of the HPA in some form. Many that I have talked to view suppressors on the NFA registry, and the burdensome paperwork involved in executing transfers, as pointless.
- For some consumers like me, navigating the ownership process is a bit easier after the implementation of the famous Rule 41F now that the requirement for Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) approval is no longer a hurdle.
- The last 10 years have seen a rapid and steady growth in suppressor demand in the US, indicating that suppressors are becoming the new must-have firearms accessory.
- The White House is a bit busy. Personal Tax Reform, Corporate Tax Reform, Immigration Reform, Building a Wall, Repealing/Replacing ObamaCare, Putting together a real budget, Filling out the Cabinet and other appointees, Court (including the Supreme Court) nominees, Fixing Military Readiness, Stopping Iran’s Nuclear Program, North Korea (enough said), destroying ISIS, ALL while doing battle with the Washington establishment and the mainstream media are just a few things keeping our Executive Branch hopping. Taking suppressors off the NFA registry is not exactly a red-hot requirement when you stack it up against such urgent priorities.
- Right now it looks as though the HPA does not have the needed support in the Senate to pass an up or down vote. That was confirmed recently in a call to one of my Senator’s offices.
- Also, the House version of the bill is different than the Senate version, though both bills call for changing the tax scheme and providing tax stamp refunds that will have to be approved in committee. This means compromises/reconciliations will be required which of course take time.
- People “waiting” on the HPA, ironically, are hurting its chances for success. By not getting your Form 4 sent in, it creates an artificial drop in ATFs demand data, which indicates to politicians that the issue is really not that important.
- Simply put, Washington does not move quickly for anything, except recess.
- Today’s political theatre means that it doesn’t matter what the President endorses, the opposition and their willing allies in the media will fight it energetically. If the GOP introduced a bill to end world hunger you would see Pelosi and Schumer calling it a get-rich conspiracy for the Big Chow industry, and somehow link it to Russia.
- When it comes to a floor vote on the HPA, get ready for a media firestorm and some flamboyant grandstanding by opponents. You will hear the phrases “Gun Lobby”, “Gang Violence”, “Drug Cartels”, “Favorite tool of Assassins” all linked to this effort. If it can be spun to look like the HPA is really just a ruse to enrich those evil gun makers at the expense of public safety, then that is exactly what you will see on TV, in print, and in social media. Examples, now matter how obscure, of suppressors used in crime will be front and center. Mainstream media orgs will go to great lengths to get some dangerous-looking kook on camera yelling “free silencers for my compound!” We have to be ready for all of that, because it will certainly have an effect on our elected officials.
HPA NOT likely to pass in 2017
So, the headwinds outweigh the tailwinds. No matter which way you slice it the likelihood of the Hearing Protection Act getting to a vote this year is low. While I strongly believe that it will eventually be a reality and we’ll all be better for it, here are the reasons that you as a consumer should stop waiting in vain for the HPA to somehow happen anytime soon:
- The slowdown in demand has hurt some manufacturers and cost a lot of people their jobs. Because suppressor components by law must be made in the US that means those are American jobs. People buying again will put those people back to work in an industry that they love.
- As a culture we need to ratchet up our positive messaging regarding suppressors right now. Part of winning the public relations game is getting people to make suppressor purchases at the historically strong growth rate that we have seen for years. Washington will get the message that suppressor demand continues to surge, which in turn gives Senators who are on the fence a reason to get on the side of a growing trend.
- Get your orders in ASAP. When the HPA eventually does become law, if you are caught without your order already in process you will be “at the back of the line”. That goes for dealers as well as consumers. Remember rimfire ammo availability not that long ago? I’m sure a lot of people were wishing that they had thought, and bought, ahead.
© 2017 Ed Schoppman All rights reserved.
Reposted by Gear-Report.com with permission
Gear-Report.com is leading a push to educate consumers about the legal and market impacts that are strangling many of the great brands in the firearms sound suppression industry. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org so we can tell your story and educate consumers on the real impacts of waiting for the HPA to (hopefully) pass.
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