This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) remove silencers from the list of firearms subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA), and (2) specify that a person who lawfully acquires or possesses a silencer under provisions of the federal criminal code meets the registration and licensing requirements of the NFA.
Additionally, the bill amends the federal criminal code to:
- preempt state or local laws that tax or regulate firearm silencers,
- exclude a muffler or silencer from the list of firearms subject to regulation,
- eliminate mandatory minimum prison terms for a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense in which a defendant uses or carries a firearm equipped with a silencer, and
- permit active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed silencer.
A Summary has been submitted for Senator Mike Lee's 2017 Silencers Help Us Save Hearing Act, or SHUSH Act.
Our last update was late September and can be found here.
H.R. 3139, a House version of The Hearing Protection Act of 2017, now has 20 cosponsors, but is still in the Ways and Means and Judiciary Committees being referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations where it has been since July.
S. 1505, the Senate version of The SHUSH Act, is up to 9 cosponsors, but remains in the Finance Committee where it has been since June.
Unless there is a significant event such as a bill being referred out of committee, we will no longer be providing updates related to the various versions of the HPA and SHUSH Act.
After a somewhat quiet August on Capital Hill, there's been recent activity related to the old 2017 HPA and the more recent SHUSH Act.
First, the SHUSH Act has more cosponsors in the House and Senate with H.R. 3179 coming in at 18 cosponsors and S. 1505 at 8. The Senate version appears stuck in the Finance Committee while the House version has been in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations since July 24th.
Although the SHUSH Act is thought by many to have supplanted the 2017 HPA, the Hearing Protection Act has gained a few new supporters expanding from 158 cosponsors in July to 165 today. As mentioned before, the 2017 HPA is languishing in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations where it has been since February.
H.R. 367 now has 158 cosponsors, up from 127 in March. Among those cosponsors, the number of Democrat cosponsors has doubled. That's right. There are now FOUR Democrat cosponsors. Talk about bipartisan support, right? Other than this, the Bill is still languishing in committee, and there's been no action on the Senate version, S. 59.
However, a new Bill known as the SHUSH Act is moving through the House and Senate. This Bill would go even further than the Hearing Protection Act. You can read more about the SHUSH Act here.
There is already proposed legislation known as the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 which would remove the legal requirement of obtaining a tax stamp to purchase firearms silencers along with other application requirements. But the SHUSH Act would go further, removing silencers from National Firearms Act (NFA) requirements altogether.
If the SHUSH Act (H.R. 3139 and S. 1505) becomes law, firearms silencers would be classified as firearms accessories, eliminating the need for a even a background check or FFL licensee transfer. In other words, silencers could be bought and sold over the counter or mail-order just like anything else.
Since their introduction in the House and Senate on June 29th, there hasn't been much activity on the Bills. H.R. 3139, with 8 cosponsors, is in the Ways and Means and Judiciary Committees. S. 1505, with its 1 cosponsor, has been referred to the Finance Committee.
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SB 21 calling for an Article V Convention of States was sent to the Texas House in March and was read and referred to the Select Committee on State & Federal Power & Responsibility today. The identical companion bill HB 506 is scheduled for public hearing this Thursday April 13th.
In gun law, a Bill is being considered that would eliminate the licensing requirement for the carrying of handguns in the state. HB 375 is pending in the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee since March 28th.
In immigration law, SB 23 would require all Texas employers to use the e-verify system to ensure the workers they hire are legally authorized to work in the United States. SB 280 would empower Texas law enforcement officers to arrest illegal immigrants.
Since the last post, H.R. 367 has gained 19 additional cosponsors bringing the current total to 127. Of those 127, only 2 are Democrats (and both are from Texas) the most recent being Rep. Henry Cuellar. The Bill is still stuck in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and there's been no action on the companion Senate Bill S. 59.
For previous posts and information, click here.
Those interested in supporting the HPA of 2017 can do so here.
The Texas Senate has just voted to adopt Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 2) calling for an Article V Convention of States to consider certain amendments to the United States Constitution. Shortly before the vote on SJR 2, the Texas Senate voted to adopt Senate Bill 21 (SB 21) which provides for the qualifications of Texas delegates and other guidelines in the event of an Article V Convention.
Texas is calling for an Article V Convention to impose fiscal restraints on the national government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the national government, and limit the terms of office of national officials and members of Congress. Another Article V Convention calling for a balanced budget amendment has already been passed by 28 states, 6 states away from the number needed to require the U.S. Congress to call an Article V Convention.
The texts of SB 21 and SJR 2, without amendments, are provided below. More information can be found on the Texas Legislature's website.
UPDATE: THE ENGROSSED VERSIONS (with amendments) OF SB 21 AND SJR 2 ARE INCLUDED BELOW.
Tomorrow, the Texas Senate is expected to vote on Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR 2) calling for a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of the Article V Convention would be to impose fiscal restraints on the national government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the national government, and limit the terms of office of national officials and members of Congress.
It's interesting to note that while the national government continues to spend beyond its means, 45 states have balanced budget requirements. States balance their budgets. We're expected to balance our budgets. Why should the national government, with all its power and responsibility, be free to act so irresponsibly?
The identical companion Bill, HJR 39, has gone nowhere since it was filed December, 06, 2016.
There is now a Senate version of the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, S. 59. Anyone who has ever watched Schoolhouse Rock understands this is an important step in the process. S. 59 currently has 7 cosponsors and has been sitting in the Finance Committee since its introduction. Second, the House version, H.R. 367, has gained 23 more cosponsors with a current total of 97 and has been referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
In related news, Ronald B. Turk, associate deputy director and chief operating officer of the ATF, recently called for removing restrictions on the sale of gun silencers and for initiating a study on lifting the ban on imported assault weapons. Source.
Since the last post, The Hearing Protection Act of 2017, H.R. 367, has gained 6 additional cosponsors, bringing the total to 74. Text of H.R. 367 is available below. There is still no Senate version of the Bill.
The Hearing Protection Act is dead? Long live the Hearing Protection Act?
A new Hearing Protection Act has been introduced in the United States House of Representatives. 9 days after its introduction, H.R. 367 has 68 cosponsors and has been referred to the Judiciary and the Ways and Means committees. The purpose of H.R. 367 is "to provide that silencers be treated the same as long guns". Text of the H.R. 367 is not available at the time of this posting. There is no Senate version of the Bill.
The Hearing Protection act of 2015, H.R. 3799 of the 114th Congress, has 82 cosponsors and has been languishing in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations since November 23 of 2015.
We will keep you updated.
Since the last update in August 2016, the House version of the bill has four new cosponsors, Harold Rogers of Kentucky, Rob Bishop of Utah, Evan H. Jenkins of West Virginia, and putting Nebraska on the map is Adrian Smith.
Since the last update in early June, there hasn't been much activity. The House version of the bill has two additional cosponsors, Steve Russell of Oklahoma and Mo Brooks of Alabama. This puts Oklahoma on the map and brings to 3 the number of cosponsors from Alabama. There is nothing to report on the Senate version of the bill.
Readers may recall from our first post on the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 that this bill would make it easier to purchase and possess "silencers" or suppressors. Although this proposed legislation appears to have some support in the House, it's unlikely this bill will ever become law.
Since the last update in mid April, the House version of the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 has 15 additional cosponsors.
From Texas, Randy Weber, Louie Gohmert, Pete Olson, Gene Green, and Sam Johnson.
From Ohio, Brad Wenstrup and Jim Jordan.
From Virginia, Robert Wittman and H. Morgan Griffith.
From North Carolina, Mark Meadows.
From South Carolina, Mick Mulvaney.
From Colorado, Doug Lamborn.
From Alabama, Gary Palmer.
From Michigan, Tim Walberg.
And from Washington, Cathy McMorris Rogers.
There has been no additional action on the Senate version of the bill.
Since the last update, The Hearing Protection Act of 2015 has seven new cosponsors.
H.R.3799 has six new cosponsors, Republican Representatives Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Luke Messer of Indiana, Dave Brat of Virginia, and David Young and Steve King of Iowa. The House version of The Hearing Protection Act of 2015 now has 58 cosponsors from 31 states. The bill is still in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.
In the Senate, S.2236 has a new cosponsor, Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. This brings to 3 the number of cosponsors in the Senate, the other cosponsors being Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. The bill is still sitting in the Finance Committee.
H.R.3799 has two new cosponsors, Republican Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, and Republican Representative John Ratcliffe of Texas. The House version of The Hearing Protection Act of 2015 currently has 52 cosponsors from 26 states.
In the Senate, S.2236 has a new cosponsor, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. This brings to 2 the number of cosponsors in the Senate, the other cosponsor being Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
Rep. Charles "Chuck" Fleischmann of Tennessee is the newest cosponsor of the House version of the Hearing Protection Act of 2015.
The House version of the Hearing Protection Act has 4 new cosponsors. They are Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, and Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho. This brings the total number of cosponsors in the house to 49.
The House version of the Hearing Protection Act is in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations where it has been since last November.
The Senate version of the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, S.2236, has a new cosponsor. On January 20th, Senator Mike Lee of Utah became a cosponsor of Senator Mike Crapo's Hearing Protection Act. Senator Lee is currently the only cosponsor of the Senate version of the act. The act is currently in the Senate Committee on Finance where it has been since early November 2015.
The House version currently has 45 cosponsors, and among those 45, only one is a Democrat.
H.R.3799, also known as the Hearing Protection Act of 2015, was introduced last October in the House of Representatives with an identical bill, S.2236, introduced in the Senate in November.
Generally, the Hearing Protection Act would remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act (NFA), eliminating the $200 federal tax payment that is currently required under the NFA when purchasing a suppressor or "silencer", and prevent states or local authorities from imposing their own local tax as a replacement. Under the Act, suppressors would still be treated as firearms, but removed from the purview of the NFA. The effect would be to apply the same requirements for the purchase of rifles and shotguns to the purchase of suppressors. Purchasers would still be required to pass the NICS background check, but the expense and burdens imposed by the NFA would no longer apply.
We will post updates related to the Hearing Protection Act of 2015.
Click here for the text of H.R.3799.
House Bill 910 of the 84th Texas Legislature, The Texas Open Carry Law, is set to go into effect January 1st of 2016. The primary purpose of this legislation is to allow those in Texas who already have a concealed handgun license, and those who obtain a handgun license, to have the option of carrying openly in a belt or shoulder holster.
HB 910 (Acts 2015, 84th R.S., ch. 437, General and Special Laws of Texas) makes a number of changes to sections of the government code, occupations code, education code, family code and other Texas laws, but most of these changes (most) are not intended to be substantive. Instead, these changes adjust the current language of the laws to conform to the changes involved with introducing open carry into Texas. For a simple example, concealed handgun licenses are no longer concealed handgun licenses: they are handgun licenses. Many of the changes simply remove the word "concealed" from the law.
There are, however, also substantive changes to the law, some of which I will mention now. First, handgun instructors must be qualified to provide instruction in the proper use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried handguns. Furthermore, they must provide instruction in the proper use of restraint holsters and methods to ensure the secure carrying of openly carried weapons as part of handgun licensing courses. This was not previously required.
Although instruction on the use of restraint holsters is required, licensed handgun carriers are not required to use them. This does not mean licensed handgun carriers can open carry however they wish. Handguns carried in the open must be carried in either a belt holster or a shoulder holster.
Additionally, Section 30.07, regarding prohibiting open carry on one's property, has been added to the Texas Penal Code as a sort of counterpart to section 30.06 which addresses concealed carry. 30.07 provides as follows:
NOT LEGAL ADVICE.
Nothing on this website is legal advice. The information on this site is general in nature and might not apply to your individual situation.