Guns and Gear

Gun Group Opposes New Hearing Aid Proposal

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

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The gun rights group Gun Owners of America has come out against a bill that would allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter rather than by prescription.

The 1.5 million-member group voiced concerns over the bill’s potential to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration governance over some aspects of hunting. Among those is the sale of PSAPs, a personal sound amplification system used to boost hunters’ hearing capabilities.

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley introduced and co-sponsored the bill.

“In the past, anti-gun senators like Warren have used any pretext, however attenuated, to interfere with hunting and the exercise of Second Amendment rights,” wrote director Erich Pratt in a letter to lawmakers. “And we can only interpret this legislative initiative to be the most recent of these.”

Grassley said the bill will not affect the sale of PSAP’s, but Pratt remains “concerned about federal bureaucracy creeping into hunting,” according to the Associated Press.

The backlash generated by this bill may however be linked more so to who proposed it, not what is proposed.

“Were Warren less of an enemy of the Second Amendment, we might give more credibility to the argument that we were protected,” Pratt wrote. “But she isn’t. So we don’t.”

Gun Owners of America, with an alliance of conservative groups, want to make sure there is an obvious distinction between medical and recreational hearing aids, the APnotes.

“We’re asking Congress to make it clear that the regulation of hearing aids will not apply to those devices used by gun owners,” Pratt said.

Grassley said the language would be re-drafted to clarify that PSAPs and other hunting devices will not be affected, The Independent Journal Review reports.

Should the legislation go through, Warren and Grassley believe their bill will help more than 40 million people with untreated hearing loss, added the AP.

The proposal “will make a life changing difference for the millions of Americans with untreated hearing loss who don’t have access to hearing aid technology,” said Warren.