Hearing Safety is a Real Issue, Not Fabricated to De-Regulate Suppressors

GunsAmerica contributor Justin Opinion was recently published.

(Editor’s note: This article first appeared on DelawareOnline.com, which is part of the USA Today network.  It’s being syndicated here with the permission of the author, our friend and a GunsAmerica contributor, Justin Opinion).

The loud bang of a gunshot is a product of physics.

In part, you have a small explosion of a gunpowder-charged cartridge that sends a bullet forward, and also you have the bullet itself breaking the sound barrier and creating a small sonic boom. That small sonic boom is actually the loudest part of the report of a gun, and that is one of the reasons why smaller-caliber firearms make less noise than larger-caliber firearms. This function of physics is no more a safety device for firearms than the sound of a large splash is for swimming pools.

Those who think that a suppression device on a firearm makes it in some way more deadly, more covert, or simply more evil, have enjoyed a firearms education via “The Late Late Show.” In those movies, villains and gangsters snarl wickedly as they attach the device to their gun, and the audience is horrified that the sound of the bullet striking a feather pillow is louder than the shot itself. Such flights of fancy make for fun entertainment, but do not accurately describe reality.

In his recent opinion article titled; “NRA wants to suppress important safety feature of a gun,” Mr. Robert J. Spitzer it seems, is quite a fan of the fanciful – given his arguments against suppressors, and his warning of mayhem that will ensue if they are de-regulated.  And yes, the better term for the device is “suppressor” rather than “silencer” simply because the device suppresses the sound – it by no means eliminates it. Silence implies the absence of sound. The sound of a gunshot through a suppressor can still be plainly heard – just without the pain. There are currently 42 states that have laws permitting the private ownership and use of suppressors, with Illinois poised to become the 43rd. Many of these states also permit the suppressors to be used while hunting. With almost 85 percent of the United States currently permitting their use, there should be numerous cases of them being used in crime, and for evil purposes – if reality matched Mr. Spitzer’s fantasy.

Hearing damage, on the other hand, is a very real and tangible problem. Worse, hearing damage is cumulative and irreparable. A high price indeed to pay so that someone with a misunderstanding of reality can “feel safer.” Mr. Spitzer warns that criminals and terrorists might now have access to suppressors, making their attacks more deadly. But considering that virtually every action the attacker has taken, and every weapon the attacker has used are illegal, it is doubtful that they draw the line at silencers for reasons of morality or fear of punishment. In fact, the opposite is true – the noise and the panic is an important element of their attack. Mr. Spitzer would suggest then, that the Berlin terrorist attacker in December would have killed and injured fewer people had his truck not had a muffler. Such extreme arguments are meant only to strum emotional strings.

Justin Opinion: STI Hex Tactical 2011: A 9mm Triple-Tap Machine—Full Review.

For the millions of Americans that spend their weekends at the shooting range, and certainly for those who live nearby, reducing the noise level to non-dangerous volumes would indeed be a wonderful thing. The number of hikers accidentally killed or injured by hunters is so small that one must do in-depth research just to find examples. Implying that this would somehow change is a transparent fear mongering tactic. What will change, however – on day one – is the saved hearing and reduced stress of hunting dogs and other nearby companions. The grandson being taught to shoot who momentarily forgets to put on his hearing protection may not be permanently punished, and in turn will be able to hear his grandchildren.

Once again, a voice emerges to predict carnage and blood in the streets if a law or regulation that restores freedom and choices to gun owners becomes reality. Such claims have never become reality. The NRA and the DSSA support the Hearing Protection Act, because it will do exactly what its name suggests, and nothing more.

About the Author: David Crout is an avid shooting sports enthusiast, NRA Instructor, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA).

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mr.James February 11, 2017, 8:09 am

    I read many valid comments listed here on this topic . I will chime in with this. I live in the Rural Populated Area still free in America. We are separated by hundreds of feet or Acer’s, on some sides a mile or more or 50 foot elevation changes to other dwellings or outbuildings and a varmint problem of skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, Mountain Lion , Cannabis farmers reckless pit bulls, I hope this description is clear. I prefer to take extreme care not to destroy my Natural Resources but at some times I find it a sad burden I must undertake or be overrun with losses I needn’t explain. The other folk’s My neighbors when we meet, we speak n’ share the same intrusion and so far to my knowledge no one has misfired a projectile into some others personal property or accidently fired into someone not deserving , thou I have long ago herd the scary ricochet sound and not from my doings . I guess I’m attempting to write that we local folks take extreme care in letting lose a projectile and I wish I could do so with out raising the hackle’s of my five mile neighbors when dealing with these pests. I do realize that shots fired reports keep our LE with something to do at night, but my friends and neighbors need only awake at the crack of dawn not the report echo of a firearm. Our Rural population is shrinking quickly with little help from local/state help. I could use a suppressor or two for problem management.

  • L Lee Johnson February 10, 2017, 11:10 pm

    We all need a good laugh once in a while. This is quite a stretch. If the noise is that bad on your ears, try ear pads.
    Will I probably try to acquire one, yes, but not because I’ve ruined or will ruin my hearing.
    I personally believe we’ll get more of what we want when we stop trying to bullshit the world.

    • Dan February 11, 2017, 8:25 am

      I had to comment on your comment since you clearly have no idea how easy it is to damage or lose your hearing out right. Just one sound at the right tone at the right time can permanently damage your hearing. I know this from personal experience based on the conversations with my dr on what hearing aids I will be needing to wear so I can hear. I just turned 50 and I have been around firearms my whole life. I’m fairly confident I damaged my hearing at a young age during pheasant season when I never wore hearing protection. If you think this is all bullshit go to the range and have your buddy stand next to you and fire off a few rounds out of a 12 gage shotgun then tell us how your ears feel.

  • Michael J. Salzbrenner February 10, 2017, 9:59 pm

    While I am more than willing to admit that “Hearing Safety is a Real Issue, Not Fabricated to De-Regulate Suppressors”. I have to say that even if it wasn’t “fabricated” to De-Regulate Suppressors it is certainly being heavily manipulated to do so. There are a plethora of issues that contribute to Hearing loss. Firearms being only one. However, many of those contributing factors are not quite so “voluntary” as firearms. Work related issues, (law enforcement not being considered cause in truth how many officers ever actually have to USE their sidearm outside the range.) On the range there are many available methods of reducing the noise impact on an individual, and I’ve never been to ANY range that didn’t REQUIRE hearing protection. And the word games go back to the “politically correct” horse pucky. Silencer or Suppressor? Is purely semantics. Calling it a suppressor could just as easily lead one to assume it suppresses the effective performance of the firearm. Just as a silencer leads one to over exaggerate it effective decibel reduction it provides. From my point of view its all a game of playing with words and using an real issue to accomplish an opinionated objective. Do we NEED suppressors to reduce “Hearing Degradation”? Hell no? Do they have the potential to assist in doing so? Surely. But does it matter either way? There is always the response that if you don’t want to go deaf from shooting guns. 1. Don’t use guns, or 2. If you must use guns, use hearing protection when doing so. Using this logic we could say that all amplifiers should only have a volume that goes to 6 so that people won’t reduce their hearing from going to concerts. Do we need to do that? Hell no. Would it have the potential to assist in doing so? Surely. But does it matter either way? The truth is suppressors are optional accessories that provide a specific benefit. Some like em. Some don’t. Others, don’t care either way. Personally, I feel that suppressors should be deregulated simply because there is no tangible evidence that regulating them has done anything other than line the pockets of an illegal government organization. And when it comes right down to it less law is more freedom. But I’m not going to jump on the “questionable proprieties” bandwagon to push the agenda.

  • KeithB February 10, 2017, 2:11 pm

    AWWWWWWWWWWWwwwwww… Poor wittle babies can’t stand to wear those mean old ear muffs and plugs? Wow…. It’s hard to imagine a more frivolous and ass backward argument to make it legal for criminals and scumbags to suppress their gun noise….Seriously, you jackasses need to get some perspective. You’re not going to be satisfied until everybody is walking around with machine guns strapped to their backs… Morons…

    • mike February 10, 2017, 2:41 pm

      there you go whining again…

    • Vince Bell February 10, 2017, 3:34 pm

      You do realize that police officers and concealed carry permit holders don’t walk around wearing hearing protection. If they suddenly need to fire to save their life or others lives, their hearing and anyone nears’ hearing is unprotected. As for the “jackasses” and “Morons” jabs, I doubt your mental acumen would stand up to serious examination.

    • guy February 10, 2017, 4:37 pm

      Well you can walk around with a machine gun straped to your back in some states; but thats only if you have the money to do so. And banning silencers well that was to keep the rabel from poaching; however It too can be done if you have the means. Hunting is a rich mans game not for some cheap food source (duh). Im with you though, ban them all! Criminals don’t have that kind of money. I also I want to ban you from saying what you think or even reproducing for that mater without having a insane amount financial backing. Land of the free nope, land of the $. Maybe we can weed out some of these criminals by baning intercorse. Lets put a bigger moat between us and the surfs 😉

    • Charles Scruggs February 10, 2017, 5:35 pm

      Keith
      Kiss old rosy you libtard.

    • rob February 10, 2017, 6:58 pm

      Another ill informed, (i.e. moron) precious snowflake social justice warrior speaks.

    • Richard Hilton February 10, 2017, 10:58 pm

      That’s the truth the only people going to enjoy lifting the ban on Suppressors is the criminal. I have been shooting for close to 60 years and I worked in noisy factories for almost 50 of those years and I still hear just fine using ear plugs and ear muffs. I have been a NRA life member since 1973 and this is one thing I believe they have wrong only criminals and little boys need these things grow up and realize the real problem these thing will cause.

  • WiscoGunner February 10, 2017, 11:55 am

    I would welcome the deregulation of suppressors. I am in my 50s and have some work-related hearing loss. I thoroughly enjoy shooting sports and wear double hearing protection at all times. Even with these extra measures to protect my hearing, I still notice after-effects on my hearing after a day at the range. I do own a suppressor for my .22 and it is such a blessing to be able to enjoy shooting without always wearing the headphones. I would own more suppressors if it was affordable to do so, but at this time, the cost of the individual device and the 8-10 month wait time to get a stamp just isn’t worth it. Anything the government can do to help prevent hearing loss should be done ASAP. Relaxing the regulations on suppressors would be a big step in that direction.

  • Awesome Bill from Dawsonville February 10, 2017, 11:51 am

    I read the article “NRA wants to suppress important safety feature of a gun,” and the logic was so convoluted that I’m pretty sure I killed some brain cells as a result of reading it. I’m sure that Mr. Spitzer is a shill for the Brady Bunch. I’m glad that some one called him out on his BS article.

  • Nick February 10, 2017, 6:55 am

    This opinion piece appeared in “The Washington Post.” I wrote a letter challenging them to post a counter argument, similar to this one. Like the “New York Times”, they have little interest. Another opinion writer in my hometown paper, the “Chicago Tribune” noted the ridiculousness of the argument for “safety” and even said if OSHA had been around 100 years ago, it might have mandated the use of suppressors.

  • denver February 10, 2017, 5:11 am

    fix the links to leave a signature with out signing up for all your advertising i tried to leave name an couldn’t thx

  • DRAINO February 6, 2017, 2:26 pm

    This is an awesome idea. I hope it goes through. However, I hope it’s not taken to the extreme and made a mandatory thing at ranges. Even if suppressors are taken off the NFA list, they are still expensive and if they become a REQUIREMENT, people would have to go have their firearms threaded….which is also expensive. Next thing you know the anti-s are wanting to take everyone guns away because they are making everyone deaf (increasing medical costs) or they are a noise nuisance. The pendulum can swing the other way…….just sayin.

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