The powerful lobbying group NRA is applauding new legislation promoted as “improving safety” when using guns. Republicans introduced two bills to Congress recently that are intended to allow gun silencers to be treated the same as rifles.
If passed, House bill H.R 367 and Senate bill S.59 will remove the fees, paperwork and wait times that are currently part of federal law, making it easier and faster to buy a gun accessory that suppresses the some of the noise when a gun is fired. The NRA is touting these two proposed bills as The Hearing Protection Act. They claim that silencers, more aptly known as suppressors, will cut the noise from gunfire to safe decibel levels, which would help protect people who use guns often and over extended periods of time.
On the surface it sounds like simple and innocuous enough, but it’s really designed to trick gun owners into buying something they do not need, by promoting something that doesn’t live up to its billing. The decibel level of a gunshot is between 140 to 190 dB, depending on the weapon. It is certainly loud enough to do damage to an eardrum, however, gun suppressors only muffle gunshot sounds about 14-43 decibels — about the same amount as the ear protection already commonly worn by gun enthusiasts.
There are already many products that are marketed directly to gun owners. There is no waiting period or other legislated hoops to jump through to buy any of these items.
Silencers only serve one purpose: to make it easier to shoot by reducing noise and recoil. They are also much more expensive than standard ear protection. Any prolonged exposure to sound over 85 dB can cause permanent hearing damage. No silencer can promise near to that low a level of safety. In fact one website makes the false claim that all silenced guns meet OSHA safe hearing levels. Therefore, there is literally no reason to own one.
The NRA, and the people who try to pass bills on their behalf, don’t care about hearing safety, gun safety, or safety in general. They just want people to buy more guns, gun accessories in order to put money in the pockets of gun manufacturers. That’s it. Period.