Gun control advocates oppose the reduction or elimination of any gun control laws. They believe that failed laws that do nothing to reduce crime shouldn’t be abandoned — they should be strengthened! Reduce the time and paperwork needed to purchase a silencer? Assassinations! Confused cops! Cats and dogs living together! These groups include . . .

The Washington Post. The paper recently published an opinion piece opposing to the Hearing Protection Act. They used the same tired arguments mooted by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelley’s Americans for Final Responsible Solutions (ARS).

But wouldn’t you know it: the WaPO’s very own fact-checking department has finally gotten up to speed. They’ve debunked both ARS and their own editorial’s claims.

Their investigation boiled down to pointing out a logical inconsistency within Americans for Responsible Solutions’ own statement (as pointed out by RF in a post preceding the Post’s post).

Katie Peters, a spokeswoman for ARS, supplied an article that stated: “The average suppression level, according to independent tests done on a variety of commercially available suppressors, is around 30 dB, which is around the same reduction level of typical ear protection gear often used when firing guns.”

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.”

ARS admit that suppressors and standard hearing protection are roughly equally effective at making the sound of a firearm tolerable. Therefore, by their own admission, suppressors are in fact an effective form of hearing protection.

Not only do they protect the hearing of the shooter, but they also protect the hearing of everyone around the shooter — hearing protection or not. So, better.

What about the claim that suppressors would make it harder for police to identify gunshots and pinpoint their locations? From the man behind ShotSpotter, an automated system that identifies and locates firearms discharges:

“In regard to gun silencers, it is more accurate to call them suppressors, as they suppress the impulsive sound of gunfire, not wholly eliminate it,” said Ralph Clark, the chief executive of ShotSpotter. “We have successfully if not inadvertently detected confirmed suppressed gunfire within our existing deployments.

Although we have not formally tested the theoretical impact to our system, we intend to do some targeted testing in the near future. We believe we will have various options ranging from increasing our sensor array density to developing software/firmware to address the detection of suppressed gunfire if it were to become a widespread issue.”

So, in short, it isn’t an issue. Americans for Responsible Solutions has their knickers in a twist about an effective safety technology that has no impact on public safety.

The Washington Posts‘s conclusion?

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. It would be better called the Paperwork Reduction Act, especially because the use of suppressors does not mitigate the need for hearing protection.

But that title does not give opponents the liberty to stretch the facts.

Three Pinocchios are earned by the gun control groups. Again. A quick rant:

Mainstream media seems all too happy to bemoan “fake news.” And yet gun control groups have been relying on “fake news” for decades. How about subjecting their claims to rigorous scrutiny, as we do here on TTAG.

It’s nice that some media outlets are finally acknowledging the mendacity of gun control groups, but they should stop parroting the anti-gun rights line and publishing their equally fact-free opinion anti-gun rights editorials.

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41 Responses to Washington Post Fact Checkers Rate Americans for Responsible Solutions’ “Earplugs Better Than Silencers” Claim a Lie

  1. Suppressors also make the job of the Rangemaster much easier because ear plugs deaden all sound, not just the report of the firearm.

    • Not only a lie, but a damned dirty lie. I tried. I put the earplug in the barrel and fired. It didn’t make any difference to the loudness. They’re more like loudeners than earplugs.

  2. One fact is left out when talking about ear plugs/muffs. The NRR is for a perfect seal. If you are wearing glasses, the muffs won’t have a perfect seal. If using ear plugs, the chances of getting a perfect seal are slim.

    You will still get protection without a perfect seal, but you might get 25dB instead of 30dB reduction.

    • To be fair. Getting a perfect seal with standard ear plugs is easy if you know what you’re doing. (You fave to seat the plug in your ear cannal.). It’s just not easy or comfortable.

    • I’d say the lack of a perfect seal due to wearing glasses affects ear muffs more than plugs. For that reason, I usually double up and wear both plugs and muffs together. At 58, and having worked in steel mills for 35 years and using hearing protection most of the time, I still have sustained permanent hearing loss in the higher frequencies. I do the most I can to protect the rest of my hearing but no solution is perfect.

  3. As a matter of safety engineering, it is generally considered preferable to eliminate the hazard at the source, rather than add PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). You don’t make a worker wear a respirator if the process can be modified to remove the poisonous fumes instead. You don’t make them wear gloves if you can eliminate the sharp edges instead. Suppressors are no different.

    • They want that too; if they can remove all firearms from civilians’ hands then they could protect our hearing. Huzzah for the well-meaning civilian disarmament complex!

  4. I loved the thing a week or so back about how suppressors don’t make the gun that much quieter and so won’t save your ears BUT they make it so silent no one knows you’re shooting up a mall until the person next to them goes down.

    Ron White was right, you can’t fix flat out stupidity.

    • From the article:

      “There is little that’s quiet about a firearm with a silencer, unless one also thinks a jackhammer is quiet.”

      So they’re debunking the idea that a suppressor is a (literal) silencer. This is good for those of us in favor of the HPA. Maybe read the article next time

      • I was referring to something, not necessarily on this site, that came out a week ago. My opening statement makes that clear.

        If you’re going to question my reading comprehension, perhaps you should work on your own? Ya know, so you don’t end up looking like a jackass?

  5. If you are really worried about sound, you can also wear earplugs.I wore them just partially in when I worked in industry all of the time, and completely in when the noise demanded it. I have lost some hearing, but not as bad as many I worked with.

  6. So Washington Post, can we expect you to now yell at gun control groups every time they label a bill something like “SB1160 AN ACT CONCERNING VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN’S SAFETY” and so on?

  7. I’m impressed. It takes a good deal of fortitude to publicly admit when you’re wrong. Perhaps less so as a corporate entity where the culpability is spread out, but still.

    A baby step, but one I find encouraging.

    • Yeah, it’s takes honesty to correct your own paper like that, especially when your readers don’t want them.

  8. You know what works better than earplugs or a suppressor?
    Earplugs AND a suppressor. I still wear earplugs with my Omega suppressed .308. ~133dB is still way too loud for my ears.

    • Not to mention the way that sound works- at a range with multiple people, there will be spikes in sound pressure level from constructive interference if two people happen to fire at the same time. At an indoor range, this will be multiplied due to reflections off the concrete floor or walls creating yet more sources for constructive interference.

      It’s in everyone’s best interest to reduce the SPL being initially generated, not just that which happens to get past the multiple layers of hearing protection I wear and enter my ear.

      Beyond that, assuming that this site is correct: http://www.coopersafety.com/noisereduction.aspx

      “When hearing protection is worn, your level of exposure to noise is based on the NRR rating of the protection device being used. Keep in mind, however, that while the NRR is measured in decibels, the hearing protector being used does not reduce the surrounding decibel level by the exact number of decibels associated with that protector’s NRR. For example, if you are at a rock concert where the level of noise exposure is 100 dB and you are wearing earplugs with an NRR 33dB, your level of exposure would not be reduced to 67 dB. Instead, to determine the actual amount of decibel deduction applied (when decibels are measured dBA which is the most common), you take the NRR number (in dB), subtract seven, and then divide by two. Given the previous example, your noise reduction equation would look like the following: (33-7)/2 = 13. This means that if you are at a rock concert with a level of noise exposure at 100 dB and you are wearing a hearing protector with an NRR 33 dB, your new level of noise exposure is 87 dB. If you are wearing a product with an NRR of 27 it would deduct 10 decibels (27-7/2=10).”

      So, your 33dB plugs do not in fact reduce the volume of your rifle report from 160dB to 130dB, but rather to 147dB. The suppressor’s performance is measured by an SPL-meter and is, thus, indicative of the actual volume being emitted.

  9. Having suppressors on 22 caliber rifles would make it ever safer for a high school rife team to practice and not disturb the rest to the school population. This would help in an argument for a school rifle team. I will have to make this part of my research paper supporting firearms education in schools. Anyone who wants to help with research please send me a link if anyone one has information on firearms education from the 1960s and before.

    I’m currently reading though the Guns magazine back issues link (1950s), Mr. Weingarten wrote in TTAG a couple of years ago.

    • A school can buy or make silencers without worrying about most federal firearms laws. Federal, state and local governments have a carve out in most of the laws.

  10. Basically, anything we like they’ll hate. It’s all about symbolism and nothing more than that.

  11. I am with commenter dsreno. I want to have ear plugs/muffs AND a suppressor. The combination is far superior to either one alone and virtually guarantees zero hearing loss for me. And the suppressor alone dramatically reduces the blast that reaches neighboring properties.

  12. Can you really use a quote from the dude from Shot Spotter talking about Shot Spotter, a technology we have ridiculed as inaccurate, as accurate or representative?

    • Yes because a lot of anti-gun morons think what that company does is great and will “reduce gun violence”. They often cite that using a suppressor will make it impossible to track where the shot is coming from.

      So when it is coming from the horse’s mouth about how suppressors work it shows how ignorant antigunners are notwithstanding of how we think about the company and its practices.

  13. “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.”

    More thorough fact checking is needed by them here. Since the loudness is a logarithmic scale, a 3dB would be a doubling of perceived loudness and a very significant difference.

    This really should have been noted in Nick’s article.

  14. Crap I fell victim to my audio roots. And the constant misquoting around about the dB relationship and perceived loudness.

    In the audio world, a 10db increase gives you a doubling of perceived loudness, not 3dB as frequently quoted and I quoted above.

    The confusion usually comes from the required POWER to get to the doubling of loudness.

    edit- here is a link to help describe..

    https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/the-relationship-of-voltage-loudness-power-and-decibels/

  15. All the “double up on ear pro” stuff is fine and dandy at the range. Now picture a bump in the night scenario, my two Great Pyrenees will be barking up all holy hell, am I expected to double up on ear pro and make my auditory situational awareness zero? Lets say there are three perpetrators (vs my two dogs) and the third makes entry from a different location while his two buddy’s are becoming a late evening snack. He could potentially could get behind me, lets say by some miracle I see him (because I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to hear him), and I have to engage in a defensive gun use… my ears would be fine, my dogs not so much. A guardian dog with limited hearing is about as useful as an alarm system without sensors on the doors and windows.

    A quality suppressor with subsonic ammo (say 300BLK) is a solution to all the above issues with zero down side.

  16. “Hope For the Warriors” is really a great cause for US Vets, and they have recently teamed up with OpticsPlanet for a terrific partnership.

    Just a quick excerpt from the campaign:

    “You can help by making a purchase, no matter how big or small, and trigger a donation to support our nation’s heroes and their families. As part of this campaign, OpticsPlanet.com will make a minimum donation of $20,000. ”

    Here is the link for more information if interested. http://www.opticsplanet.com/u-spcema-gearup-17.html

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