Gun control supporters are upset that the Hearing Protection Act, one of those “common sense” gun laws they claim to support, has a decent chance of passing into law.
…with Republicans in charge of the House and Senate and the elder Trump moving into the White House, gun rights advocates are excited about its prospects this year.
They hope to position the bill the same way this time — not as a Second Amendment issue, but as a public-health effort to safeguard the eardrums of the nation’s 55 million gun owners. They even named it the Hearing Protection Act. It would end treating silencers as the same category as machine guns and grenades, thus eliminating a $200 tax and a nine-month approval process.
“It’s about safety,” Trump Jr. explained in a September video interview with the founder of SilencerCo, a Utah silencer manufacturer. “It’s a health issue, frankly.”
Violence prevention advocates are outraged that the industry is trying to ease silencer restrictions by linking the issue to the eardrums of gun owners. They argue the legislation will make it easier for criminals and potential mass shooters to obtain devices to conceal attacks.
“They want the general public to think it’s about hearing aids or something,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center. “It’s both a silly and smart way to do it, I guess. But when the general public finds out what’s really happening, there will be outrage.”
Rand, of course, is being incredibly dishonest (as was the author of this article, Michael Rosenwald, who started the article by framing them as tools of assassins and mobsters).
I’d be willing to bet that Kristen Rand has never seen a silenced gun fire outside of a Hollywood movie. If she had, she would know that silencers are anything but silent, as this video of three silenced handguns (in .22 LR, 9mm, and .45 ACP) being fired inside a house clearly show.
Even with subsonic ammunition, the sound of the gunshots is distinct and unmistakable.
If gun control advocates were capable of being honest, they would be forced to admit that:
- Silencers are anything but silent. They simply reduce the noise of a gun shot from levels that can permanently damage your hearing to levels where they will not cause permanent damage (I still wear hearing protection when shooting suppressed firearms).
- Silencers are too bulky for criminal use. Criminals prefer small, powerful weapons that they can easily conceal under their clothing, primarily handguns. Silencers roughly double the overall length of a handgun and add considerable length to long guns rarely used in crimes. Silencers are also detrimental to one of the primary purposes criminals carry firearms, which is intimidation of crime victims. Effective silencers are actually easy to make illegally, but there simply isn’t a criminal market for them.
Let me say that again, clearly: criminals do not want silencers.
- Silencers are not wanted by mass killers. As noted above, silencers are not silent, and they make concealing a gun to get it to the scene of a shooting very difficult. Once there, a silencer would not stop the sound of shooting and conceal the attack as the Violence Policy Center intentionally and falsely claims. As they would for criminals, silencers work against a primary motive for mass killers, which is inciting terror and intimidating victims. They don’t want quieter guns. If anything, they want to create as much chaos and fear as possible.
So who really wants silencers?
- High-volume shooters. I fire thousands of rounds a year, and despite wearing quality hearing protection at all times, it’s not uncommon for me to have a headache or a ringing in my ears after a class or range session with certain particularly loud firearms. Despite being very careful about my hearing, I still get tinnitus from the volume of rounds I fire. Making silencers cheaper and more easily available will help folks like me.
- Firearms trainers. Many new shooters—especially those on indoor ranges—are more intimidated by the muzzle blast and noise than recoil. Silencers help reduce that fear so they can focus on the mechanics of shooting. Silencers are also vital for certain kinds of firearms training in enclosed places, such as in and around buildings and vehicles.
- Hunters. Hunters typically do no wear hearing protection so that they can hear what is going on in their surroundings in able to pursue game safely. This unfortunately leaves them in a position where they can suffer hearing loss when they shoot. Silencers would reduce the sound of the shot and help preserve their hearing.
- Home owners. Shooting a gun indoors is loud, as anyone who has ever fired a gun at an indoor range can easily attest. A silencer can eliminate the temporary hearing loss that can occur in an armed self defense situation in a home or other enclosed place that can render a law-abiding citizen deaf, and unable to comply with the commands of responding police officers. We’ve covered two shootings here at Bearing Arms in the past 18 months where home owners were shot by responding police because they didn’t hear the approaching police and turned towards officers with the gun still in their hands.
Opposition to the Hearing Protection Act isn’t just ignorant and wrong, it’s dangerous.