Support HR 3799 to Remove Silencers from NFA
As announced last week, a new bill has been introduced in the House to “provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.” That is, to essentially remove them from the purview of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and ease the cumbersome process of acquiring one of these valuable safety devices – a process that involves a lengthy wait and a $200 tax on top of the cost of the device.
Matt Salmon (R-AZ), introduced HR 3799, the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, to the house on October 22nd. There, it was Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and to the Committee on the Judiciary for consideration. The full text of the bill, as well as updates about its progress, is available here.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) announced almost immediately their full support of the bill. GunLink also fully supports HR 3799 and urge everyone to contact their representatives and ask that they also support the bill, which is co-sponsored by Frank Guinta (R-NH), John Carter (R-TX), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Chris Collins (R-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Mia Love (R-UT), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), and Bruce Westerman (R-AR).
An easy way to contact your representatives is to use the tools at the PopVox HR 3799 page. From there, HR3799 proponents can choose to support the bill. Be sure to include a personal message about why you support the bill. By including your personal message about why you support the bill, you guarantee that the PopVox system will generate a physical letter of support that will be hand delivered to your representatives’ offices.
Why Support HR 3799?
Aside from the fact that it is one small step closer to bringing the current state of gun legislation into line with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” there are plenty of reasons to support the Hearing Protection Act of 2015.
Continued inclusion of silencers under the provisions of the NFA provides major obstacles (including very lengthy wait time, cumbersome paperwork filings, and a $200 tax imposed on the transfer) to the use of these valuable safety devices by law abiding citizens. These obstacles make it difficult and burdensome for the average law abiding American to make use of these hearing protection devices in the course of their responsible firearm ownership and use such as hunting and competitive or recreational shooting activities.
Statistics show that such hearing protection devices are rarely, if ever, used in crimes. If and when silencers are ever used in crimes, rest assured that the criminals who use them have almost certainly not complied with the draconian regulations which currently cover silencer ownership. As such, removing silencers from the purview of the NFA and treating them like long guns with regard to the purchasing process will not likely have any increased effect on their use in crimes. Under the new legislation, silencer purchases will still require the same National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) query on purchasers as is required for other firearms.
It is no secret that the tax imposed on NFA-regulated items is less about revenue generation and more about preventing citizens from being able to afford such items. According to the inflation calculator, the $200 cost of the transfer tax in 1934 dollars (when the NFA was enacted) would equal more than $3,550 in today’s dollars. Could anyone argue that imposing a $3,500+ tax on the purchase of a good or service today would have any realistic goal other than to prevent that purchase?
Nonetheless, an economic argument may also be made for supporting HR 3799. Toward the end of taxation and revenue generation, collection of this tax does nothing but prevent firearm owners from purchasing such device, thus stymieing the revenue generation aspect of this requirement. Certainly if the provisions of NFA transfer were removed from the purchasing requirements of silencers, more law abiding Americans would make use of these safety devices. Such increased sales would likely create a boost to the US’s sluggish economy, generating sales tax revenue from the purchasers, and income tax revenue through the increased and newly created jobs on the manufacturing side.
It is hard to imagine an argument against HR 3799 that is not rooted in some misguided idea about suppressors based on Hollywood’s make-believe movie assassins.
Full Text of HR 3799
H. R. 3799
To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 22, 2015
Mr. Salmon (for himself, Mr. Guinta, Mr. Carter of Texas, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Mr. Collins of New York, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Huelskamp, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mrs. Love, Mr. LaMalfa, and Mr. Stewart) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Hearing Protection Act of 2015”.
SEC. 2. EQUAL TREATMENT OF SILENCERS AND FIREARMS.
(a) In General. – Section 5845(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking “(7) any silencer” and all that follows through “; and (8)” and inserting “; and (7)”.
(b) Effective Date.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—The amendment made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) TRANSFERS.—In the case of the tax imposed by section 5811 of such Code, the amendment made by this section shall apply with respect to transfers after October 22, 2015.
SEC. 3. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN SILENCERS.
Section 5841 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(f) Firearm Silencers.—A person acquiring or possessing a firearm silencer in accordance with Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, shall be treated as meeting any registration and licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act (as in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this subsection) with respect to such silencer.”.
SEC. 4. PREEMPTION OF CERTAIN STATE LAWS IN RELATION TO FIREARM SILENCERS.
Section 927 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: “Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a law of a State or a political subdivision of a State that, as a condition of lawfully making, transferring, using, possessing, or transporting a firearm silencer in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, imposes a tax on any such conduct, or a marking, recordkeeping or registration requirement with respect to the firearm silencer, shall have no force or effect.”.