There’s just too much chatter about it for that not to be the case. A common argument against: “What’s wrong with ear plugs?” But note this editorial concedes many of our points:
To be sure, the noise-reduction devices at issue do not eliminate gun noise; they reduce it by 30 decibels or so, making â€œsuppressorâ€ a more accurate term, and mitigating whatever additional risk the general public might face if the law results in more use of silencers, including unlawful use, as opponents fear.
Sure, it could happen. But the sky could fall too! Death, destruction everywhere! And if that’s going to happen, and WaPo’s editorial staff would prefer it be deafening, and not just kinda loud.
In fact, the harms to shooters are modest â€” somewhat elevated risk of non-total hearing loss, essentially â€” and effective alternatives to silencers are readily available.
Basically, they don’t give a crap about your hearing unless you’re driven to the point of utter deafness. Then they care. Maybe.
The problem is that firearms users generally donâ€™t take these simple precautions. Suppressors might help, NHCA acknowledged, but not â€œwithout the wearing of hearing protection.â€ In other words, â€œmanufacturers cannot guarantee that use of noise suppressors alone will prevent hearing loss.â€
Again, making our point for us. You still need hearing protection, just not as much. I doubt anyone at the WaPo involved in this editorial actually shoots, or has any idea that not all earplugs or muffs are created equal. That’s also not to mention that it’s better for hunters to Â be able to hear what’s going on around them. Or for instructors teaching a new shooter to be able to communicate effectively without having to shout.
I use these electronic muffs, and they are the best compromise between protection and usability I’ve found. But I still can’t get a good check weld on a rifle with them. Also note they are rated for a 22db reduction, which means they reduce to about 138 decibels, which is just below action level. Note, WaPo journalists, that muffs that take gunfire well into the safe range are a lot thicker.
Ear plugs are very effective, offering up to 30 decibel reduction for quality plugs, but my main issue with earplugs is that I can’t hear shit when I’m wearing plugs unless someone is absolutely shouting at me, and to be completely honest, I hate having shit stuffed in my ears. You want to be able to communicate with other shooters and the people around you when you are shooting potentially dangerous weapons.
I’m not saying suppressors are a panacea that will make all hearing issues and noise complaints go away at ranges everywhere. But they are another tool in the toolbox. Even the WaPo editorial staff has to concede that the only reason to restrict them are hysterical predictions about criminal use if we unrestricted them. That’s never happened when this kind of thing has been predicted by journalists before, and I don’t see why it would happen now.