Debunking the 'Gun Silencer' Narrative
Two recent statements underscore the callous and disingenuous leftist narrative regarding a bill to deregulate gun silencers. The first, which comes from the anti-gun group Americans for a Responsible Solution, claims: “You know what protects your hearing better than a silencer? Ear plugs. Don’t be fooled: the so-called ‘Hearing Protection Act’ does nothing to protect hearing. It makes it easier for active shooters to inflict serious harm on our communities without being detected by trained law enforcement professionals.” The second is courtesy of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who asserts: “When someone gets shot by a gun with a silencer, it’s quiet. Witnesses might not hear. Police will be less likely to track down the shooter.”
Democrats are intentionally conflating two words with entirely different meanings — “silencer” and “suppressor.” The result is a rhetorical talking point that wrongfully demonizes any effort to deregulate the gun industry. But leftists have become so unhinged from the truth on this issue (and many others) that even the “fact checkers” over at The Washington Post were compelled to debunk the prevailing narrative.
Regarding the first claim, the Post says ARS spokeswoman Katie Peters referenced a piece that claims “the average suppression level … is around 30 dB, which is around the same reduction level of typical ear protection gear often used when firing guns.” In response, the Post wrote, “If that’s the case, we’re not sure why the group would say that ear plugs protect hearing ‘better’ than suppressors. It seems the answer is that they are about the same, give or take two or three decibels. And if that’s the case, ARS is especially wrong to claim that legislation to make it easier to buy such devices ‘does nothing to protect hearing.’”
Gillibrand’s claims are equally dubious. “A 30-decibel reduction in theory means an AR-15 rifle would have a noise equivalent of 132 decibels,” the Post continues. “That is considered equivalent to a gunshot or a jackhammer. A .22-caliber pistol would be 116 decibels, which is louder than a 100-watt car stereo. In all likelihood, the noise level is actually higher.” To put it in Gillibrand’s terms, it’s nearly impossible to track down construction workers because the jackhammers they use are just so darn quiet.
Despite insinuating otherwise, Gillibrand spokesman Marc Brumer countered by arguing “we aren’t necessarily talking about being in the middle of the woods deer hunting where it is extremely quit,” rather “gun crimes often occur in cities and in other very noise places” where discharges “often cannot be heard when a silencer is added.” But as Bearing Arms editor Bob Owens retorts, “While these items/instruments/environments may be louder or as loud as firearms, none carry with them the easily recognizable sonic pulse of a gunshot.”
The Post debunks other claims by Peters and Brumer as well, but the point is the same: The “evidence” leftists cite to criticize suppressors is full of holes. And for that, the Post is awarding them Three Pinocchios, even if it can’t help but show some sympathy: “We can understand the irritation of gun-control advocates about legislation with a benign-sounding name such as the Hearing Protection Act. Clearly the main impact of the measure would be to loosen restrictions on the purchase of suppressors that have been in place for decades.” But as the report rightly concludes, this is no excuse for contorting reality with scary and misleading phrases. It’s too bad the editors won’t follow their own advice in most other news reporting.