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WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (both R-Idaho) led a group of 24 additional Senate colleagues in reintroducing the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). The HPA, S. 401, would reclassify suppressors to regulate them like a regular firearm. The measure would benefit Idaho’s recreational gun users and provide them better access to hearing protection equipment. 

“Idaho’s sportsmen and women want to safely and legally enjoy recreational activities such as hunting and target shooting, but burdensome government regulations unfairly restrict access to suppressors. The Hearing Protection Act will reclassify suppressors to allow Idaho’s law-abiding gun owners to more easily protect their hearing and enjoy this pastime,” said Senator Risch.

“The Hearing Protection Act will benefit Idaho’s sportswomen and men by ensuring they have access to adequate hearing protection while hunting and participating in other recreational shooting sports,” said Senator Crapo.  “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.”

Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

The Hearing Protection Act is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the American Suppressor Association (ASA), Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“This no-nonsense legislation would remove unnecessary and onerous regulations for an accessory that is nothing more than a muffler for a gun,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel.  “Suppressors are safety tools that reduce the sound of gunfire to a level that won’t cause instant and permanent hearing loss, enables more accurate marksmanship and allows shooting ranges to be better neighbors. The Hearing Protection Act would reduce unnecessary barriers for this accessory that is currently regulated the same way as automatic firearms. Suppressors were originally listed under the National Firearms Act over poaching concerns during the Great Depression, but those unfounded fears. Suppressors don’t completely silence a firearm, only reduce the report from a level equal to a jet taking off to one similar to that of a jackhammer. NSSF is grateful to Senator Crapo for his leadership to remove unneeded barriers to owning a safety device that is designed to make recreational shooting safer.”

“No one should have to sacrifice their hearing because they choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The Hearing Protection Act will do more to advance conservation and help protect hearing than any piece of legislation has in decades. Thank you to Senator Crapo for leading the charge on this commonsense policy that the American public wants and deserves,” said Knox Williams, ASA President and Executive Director.

"The United States is the world leader in firearm freedoms, but our archaic suppressor restrictions from 1934 put the hearing health of gun owners at risk because of arbitrary political motivations while doing nothing to deter criminals.  Americans have the right to suppress their firearms and protect their hearing without paying a $200 tax stamp, waiting several months, and registering with the ATF. We urge Congress to finally repeal unconstitutional restrictions in the National Firearms Act on suppressors and restore the Second Amendment,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA Federal Affairs Director.

“The Hearing Protection Act is a vital piece of legislation that would enable hunters and shooters to protect their hearing by cutting government red tape and bureaucracy in the purchase of suppressors,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director. “We applaud Sen. Crapo for reintroducing this bill for all sportsmen and hunters across the nation.”

Suppressors are currently subject to additional regulatory burdens under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The HPA would remove suppressors from regulation under the NFA and replace the overly-burdensome federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check. This process would make the purchasing and transfer process for suppressors equal to that as for a rifle or shotgun. Also, the HPA would put more funding into state wildlife conservation agencies by taxing suppressors under the Pittman-Robertson Act instead of the NFA. 

Full bill text is available here.


On average, suppressors diminish the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction provided by earplugs or earmuffs. The most effective suppressors on the market can only reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110-120 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to a jackhammer.