Democrats Push Bill To Ban Suppressors

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Suppressors are one of those things that really shouldn’t be controversial. They’re useful safety devices that make gunshots slightly less harmful to human hearing. In some countries, suppressors are required for shooters because it cuts down on what other people are forced to hear.

They’re safety devices, not Murder-Death-Kill devices.

However, that isn’t stopping some folks from trying to ban them entirely.

New Jersey Democrats Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman on Thursday introduced legislation to ban gun silencers.

The 2021 Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act, which Menendez first introduced in 2019 after the Virginia Beach mass shooting that killed 12 people, bans the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer and possession of gun silencers.

“Gun silencers are dangerous devices with one purpose and one purpose only – to muffle the sound of gunfire from unsuspecting victims,” Menendez said in a Thursday statement. “The sound of gunshots is what signals you to run, hide, take cover, call the police and help others save themselves; however, this is nearly impossible when a gun silencer is used.”

He described the bill as “commonsense legislation that will prevent armed assailants from using these deadly devices to make it easier to shoot and kill another person.”

Watson Coleman called silencers “tools of murder” in a Thursday statement.

“They have no legal application, which is why law enforcement officials around the country have been calling for their elimination,” she said, adding that the HEAR Act “will save lives and is part of the common-sense approach to firearms legislation that polls show has widespread support among voters on both sides of the aisle.”

The HEAR Act would also authorize a silencer buyback program, give Americans a 90-day grace period after the legislation is enacted to comply and provide limited exceptions for law enforcement and Atomic Energy personnel.

This is the kind of legislation you get when people only understand a topic based on Hollywood’s portrayal of it.

In the movies, a suppressor takes any round and reduces it down to the sound of a whisper. That’s simply not how suppressors work in the real world.

For example, a suppressed 9 mm round is somewhere around 130 decibels. Now, we don’t tend to think in decibels, so that really is kind of meaningless to us. For comparison, though, 130 decibels is about the level of a military jet with full afterburners going to take off from an aircraft carrier.

See, suppressors reduce the noise of a firearm. They don’t eliminate it.

Further, most handgun rounds travel faster than the speed of sound, which means even if you could eliminate every bit of sound from a gunshot, you’d still have noise from the round itself. But since you can’t, a killer isn’t getting much of an advantage.

Let’s remember that the Virginia Beach killer used a suppressor.

People still heard the gunshots. They still knew there was a threat and were able to run away.

Yet let’s understand precisely what this is about. This is about the American people having something that the Democratic elites simply don’t want them to have. Menendez and Watson Coleman and their cosponsors don’t actually care if suppressors work like they do in the movies or on television. They simply don’t want you to have them.

In the process, though, they’re firing up the pro-gun voters who are more determined than ever to remove even the hint of a Democratic majority come the midterms.

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Jul 27, 2021 12:30 PM ET