Virginia: OPPOSE a Ban of Firearm Sound Suppressors
Misinformation about firearm sound suppressors is rampant
Firearm sound suppressors are devices that attach to the end of a firearm's barrel to reduce the noise of a gunshot. Suppressors, silencers, mufflers, moderators, and "cans" are all names for the same type of device that is designed to reduce the report of a firearm.These devices were called "silencers" by their designer, but today are more commonly called suppressors because they only reduce the noise of a gunshot, not silence it.Suppressors function in the same way as the mufflers used on automobiles. In fact, firearm suppressors and automobile mufflers were designed by the same person.
Despite there being over 1.6 million lawfully possessed suppressors in the United States, they are very rarely used in a crime. There are only a handful of recorded cases where a lawfully possessed suppressor has been used in a crime.
Benefits of suppressors
According to the Centers for Disease Control (which isn’t known for being particularly friendly to firearm owners) “The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students’ or instructors’noise exposure from gunfire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel.”This conclusion from the CDC is unsurprising to anyone who has actually used a firearm equipped with a suppressor. Firearm suppressors reduce the report of a firearm by about 20-35 decibels, and, unlike other forms of hearing protection, are not susceptible to user error that substantially limits their effectiveness.
The health problems associated with loud noises are apparent when looking at the amount of hearing loss suffered by soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. The Veterans Administrations reports on its website that “[h]earing problems …are by far the most prevalent service-connected disability among American Veterans.”
Firearms, even with a suppressor, are very loud
Unsuppressed firearms produce a noise impulse of 140-180 decibels (dBA). Suppressors reduce this noise by 20-35 dBA. Decibels (dBA) are a logarithmic scale, so sound levels increase in a non-linear fashion. A 3 dBA increase doubles the sound pressure level. (Although most people perceive a 6 to 10 dBA increase as double the noise level.)
To put this in context, the 130-140 decibels produced by most suppressed firearms is louder than a jackhammer, which can produce between 110-130 decibels.
Suppressors are very heavily regulated already
Despite being an inert metal device that is completely harmless on its own, suppressors are regulated as heavily under federal law as machineguns and grenade launchers. Acquiring a suppressor involves paying a $200 tax, a burdensome application process, and long processing times, often upwards of a year.
Banning suppressors wouldn’t have stopped the Virginia Beach tragedy
Following the shooting, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera stated,
As far as more legislation on gun issues. I’m a member of Major City Chiefs, we did publish something about a year and a half ago. I don’t think most of that would have mattered in this particular case. We do have the Second Amendment it is very stringent for our country. In this particular case the weapons were obtained legally. Everything was done in a legal manner by this individual.
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.