Say hello to the HEAR Act — a bill introduced on Thursday that would restrict Second Amendment rights and outlaw silencers.
What is the HEAR Act?
Introduced by a Senator and Congresswoman from New Jersey, the bill would make it unlawful for citizens to import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess silencers. New Jersey is one of eight states that have banned silencers — these legislators want to force the rest of the country to follow suit.
The bill contains no grandfather clause for silencers currently owned. Instead, it instructs the Attorney General to implement a 90 day "buy-back program" to collect the approximately 1.5 million silencers currently held by law abiding gun owners. The same bill previously stalled in 2019 — we foresee this episode ending the same way.
Why Silencers Shouldn't Be Illegal
Facts are hard to come by these days. The truth is that hundreds of thousands of law abiding citizens own silencers to:
Protect their hearing
Reduce noise pollution
Make recreational shooting a more enjoyable experience
Use them as a safety accessory — a tool to lower the noise from most gunshots below the threshold of instantaneous hearing damage
Unlike what you see in the movies (or what the authors of this bill will tell you), suppressed gunshots are anything but silent. Depending on the caliber of the firearm, the noise of a suppressed shot is typically 115-140 dB — comparable to the noise of a jackhammer on concrete or a jet engine.
Hundreds of thousands of hunters and marksmen across this country know this, as do many folks outside the United States. In many European countries, for instance, individuals are not only allowed to possess suppressors for any legally owned weapon, but are also encouraged to use them as a neighborly courtesy.
How Silencers Are Regulated & Distributed
No matter what state you live in where silencers are legal, purchasing a silencer is already a more rigorous process than purchasing an ordinary firearm. Silencers are regulated by two acts: (1) the Gun Control Act of 1968, which covers most ordinary firearms, and (2) the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), which tightly regulates specific items like machine guns, short barrel rifles, and silencers, to name a few.
Under the NFA, silencer buyers must purchase a $200 tax stamp, provide fingerprints, a passport-style photo and demographic information, then submit all of the paperwork to the ATF to undergo a full background check. A licensed firearm dealer holds the silencer throughout this process, which can take between a few months and a year to complete.
Given such an intensive process, it's no surprise that common criminals rarely obtain a legal silencer, or any NFA item for that matter. The facts bear this out: The use of silencers in crimes is so statistically insignificant that it isn't reported in public crime statistics.
Silencer Owners are Law-Abiding Citizens
The HEAR Act is founded entirely on misconceptions about what silencers are, how they are used, and who uses them. One of the bill's sponsors even claimed silencers "have no legal application" — a total untruth.
The public is better served by the facts, not fear, and Silencer Shop remains committed to educating the public and our legislators about the safety benefits and usefulness of silencers for law-abiding citizens.