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Now Hear This: Shooting Sports Are Good for Your Health, But Loud Noise is Not!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Now Hear This: Shooting Sports Are Good for Your Health, But Loud Noise is Not!

We hear it all the time from the anti-gun folks: firearms are a “public health” crisis.

The proponents of this theory, of course, ignore the main reason Americans own guns … one that is demonstrated thousands, if not millions, of times a year: they can save the lives of their owners and the owner’s loved ones. 

An interesting piece published this week at MedicalDaily.com, however, indicates that discharging a firearm at a range or under other controlled conditions has other, perhaps less widely-recognized, health benefits.

According to the article, 

When you fire a gun, your body releases hormones called endorphins …. These hormones promote a calm, relaxed feeling, and although they are meant to help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with firing such a powerful weapon, they can also induce a pleasurable “high-like” sensation.

The article also notes that marksmanship training burns a “surprising” amount of calories, up to 233 an hour for a larger person. It further states that the brain produces alpha waves as the marksman is lining up a shot, which not only improve accuracy but are “associated with creativity and alleviating depression ….” 

Yet the lab coats at Medical Daily are hardly the first to recognize the salutary benefits of spending some quality time with your favorite sidearm or long gun. No less a thinker than Thomas Jefferson famously had this advice for his 15-year-old nephew on the best form of exercise:

I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks.

Healthy though they may be, guns of course require certain precautions to be enjoyed safely. For example, hunters and sportsmen know that a firearm’s loud muzzle report can leave your ears ringing and even cause hearing damage over time and with repeated exposures. 

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reported this week that even among Americans who believe their own hearing is “excellent” or “good,” about one in four actually suffer some type of permanent damage, often from exposure to noise “during everyday activities at home and in the community.”

It’s not hard to imagine that many of America’s over 100 million gun owners are in that group.

That’s exactly why your NRA-ILA is vigorously promoting the Hearing Protection Act of 2017. This important, health-promoting bill would remove an expensive tax stamp and bureaucratic red tape from the process of purchasing suppressors to reduce the muzzle report and felt recoil of firearms. Suppressors have obvious advantages for the safety and enjoyment of firearm owners and for reducing the disturbance they might cause to others in nearby vicinities.

Indeed, as we report elsewhere this week, even the second-in-command at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives recently acknowledged that the use of suppressors “to reduce noise at shooting ranges” and for “applications within the sporting and hunting industry” are “now well recognized.” He went on to explain how the current regulatory regime to which suppressors are subjected imposes significant costs to industry, consumers, and ATF itself without corresponding benefits to public safety. “[T]he change in public acceptance of silencers,” he wrote, “arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion [in the strict regulatory regime] is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from [that regime] should be reevaluated.”

So enjoy the health benefits of the gun ownership and use, but protect your hearing. And make sure your senators and congressional representative hear from you in favor of supporting S. 59 and H.R. 367 in the 115th Congress. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.