Rep. Jeff Duncan and Rep. John Carter release the Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act

Jan 9, 2017 Issues: Constitutional Issues

Washington, D.C. – Today Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03) along with Rep. John Carter (TX-31) introduced a bill to cut through the red tape on owning firearm suppressors. The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act will remove suppressors from the scope of the National Firearms Act (NFA), replacing the outdated federal transfer process with an instantaneous National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS). The bill also includes a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchase a suppressor after October 22, 2015, which was the original date of introduction. In stark contrast, many countries in Europe place no regulations on their purchase, possession, or use.

“This legislation is about safety – plain and simple,” Congressman Duncan said after dropping the Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act on Monday. “I’m very active in sport shooting and hunting, and I can’t tell you how better off the shooting sports enthusiasts would be if we had easier access to suppressors to help protect our hearing. 

“I’ve been shooting since I was a young child - beginning with plinking with a .22 rifle and dove hunting with my Dad.  My hearing has been damaged  because of gun noise. Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss. This is a health issue even recognized in Europe. It just doesn’t make any sense to regulate suppressors the way we do presently.  I think it certainly is questionable from a constitutional standpoint.  It’s striking that even Britain, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has no restrictions on suppressors.”

Rep. John Carter said, “Suppressors do not make guns silent or dangerous, they are simply a form of hearing protection, both for the shooter and their hunting dogs. The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act is common sense legislation that increases safety while shooting, allowing people to easily hear and react to range safety officers and fellow hunters.  I am proud to be an original sponsor of this important legislation, and to work with my colleague Rep. Duncan to increase the availability of suppressors to sportsmen.”

The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act will fix the flawed federal over-regulation of suppressors, making it easier for hunters and sportsmen to protect their hearing in the 42 states where private suppressor ownership is currently legal, and the 40 states where hunting with a suppressor is legal. This legislation will remove suppressors from the onerous requirements of the NFA, and instead require purchasers to pass an instant NICS check, the same background check that is used to purchase a firearm. In doing so, law-abiding citizens will remain free to purchase suppressors, while prohibited persons will continue to be barred from purchasing or possessing these accessories.