The Argument Against The Hearing Protection Act

“The federal government has strictly limited the sale of firearm silencers for as long as James Bond and big-screen gangsters have used them to discreetly shoot enemies between the eyes.” Longer actually. Anyway, that’s The Washington Post’s opening salvo against The Hearing Protection Act, which would remove suppressors from NFA bureaucracy.

The article — headlined by Donald Trump Jr.’s support for the Act, of course — calms down to present both sides of the “argument” on the HPA. As you might imagine, the anti side is really stupid.

Violence prevention advocates are outraged that the industry is trying to ease silencer restrictions by linking the issue to the eardrums of gun owners. They argue the legislation will make it easier for criminals and potential mass shooters to obtain devices to conceal attacks.

“They want the general public to think it’s about hearing aids or something,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center. “It’s both a silly and smart way to do it, I guess. But when the general public finds out what’s really happening, there will be outrage.”

“Violence prevention advocates”? How does keeping it difficult and expensive to buy a suppressor prevent violence? And aren’t bodies hitting the floor enough of an indication of a mass shooter’s attack? What’s “really happening” here?

Gun-control activists say silencers are getting quieter, particularly in combination with subsonic ammunition, which is less lethal but still damaging.

They point to videos on YouTube in which silencers make high-powered rifles have “no more sound than a pellet gun,” according to one demonstrator showing off a silenced semi automatic .22LR (posted above) . . .

Gun-control advocates contend that serious crimes are being committed with silencers on guns. Former police officer Christopher Dorner used silencers on an AR-15 and a 9mm handgun during two-day rampage in Los Angeles in 2013.

A serial killer in Vermont used a silencer in the killing of at least one of his 11 victims.

And the planner of a disrupted mass shooting targeting a Masonic temple in Milwaukee last year was charged with possessing a silencer, in addition to other weapons charges.

“They wanted these things so they could kill quietly,” said Rand, of the Violence Policy Center. “The industry wants to make silencers less scary, but they can’t.”

Silencers are scary. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got, really. The fact that a statistically insignificant number of criminals have used suppressors is only relevant — wait. It’s not relevant. Especially considering how easy it is to cobble together a homemade suppressor and the benefits of “easy access” to suppressors for tens of millions of law-abiding Americans.

Perhaps the antis are aware that suppressors make firearms way more desirable. That they’re a kinder gentler gateway to guns for newbies. Which would mean more gun owners! Which would mean less support for gun control.

Whether they act out of ignorance or a fanatical devotion to disarmament for all, antis remind me of Monty Python’s sketch “Nobody Expects the Spanish inquisition.” Will fear, surprise and ruthless media manipulation be enough to stop the HPA? Watch this space.


  1. avatar Bernard says:

    I guess they don’t care about deaf hunting dogs.

    1. avatar Walter, NOT The Dude says:

      “Will fear, surprise and ruthless media manipulation be enough to stop the HPA? ”

      Will fear, surprise, ruthless media manipulation and stupidity be enough to stop the HPA?

      “Well, joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck.”- Robin Williams

    2. avatar Boba Fett says:

      Brilliant! That is the perfect angle. We’ll hire Sarah McLachlan to do a commercial with shots of all kinds of sad dogs moping in front of a camera. Then over soft, sappy background music you hear,
      “Hi, I’m Sarah McLachlan, and this is Chuckles. Chuckles can’t be trained to sit or roll over because Chuckles is deaf, and that’s what the gun control movement wants. They think dogs don’t have the right to hear, or feel, but we can change that. Contact your representatives in Congress today and tell them that you support the Hearing Protection Act.”

    3. avatar nigel (who eats tasty critters) says:

      They’d rather you not hunt at all. And stop eating creatures while you are at it, you evil gun-loving animal eater. Of the terror.


  2. avatar Mike Betts says:


    1. avatar matty 9 says:

      HA! Beat me to it

    2. avatar bLoving says:

      Let us all give them our responses in sign language… 🙂

  3. avatar strych9 says:

    Criminals, by and large, want concealable weapons so that they can take advantage of the element of surprise.

    The only cans I know of that are reasonably concealable are not quite. They’re things like the Gemtech Pill Bottle, which is meant to be literally shoved into your target to get full suppression and IIRC only comes in .22. Yes, that can was meant for killing people, it was designed for overseas intelligence work a la Smiley’s people.

    Other than that there are a few military silencers in 9mm, notably the Aurora (also a GemTech product), that use wipes. They’re also not really quiet. They’re meant for pilots behind enemy lines and as such they’re about half as effective as a modern silencer because they’re not about earpro they’re meant to not alert the battalion that’s over the ridge if you absolutely have no choice but to off someone.

    So generally we’re talking something on the order of 7+ inches long here. Not what you want to have on your gun when you’re on your way to knock over the 7/11 because you can actually get a sawed off shotgun that’s shorter and more intimidating.

    Then there’s the fact that criminals by their nature commit crimes. I rather doubt a hardened MS13 assassin who’s out to commit murder will blink at obtaining a suppressor illegally.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      For anyone interested, here’s the ‘Pill Bottle’ suppressor, and it actually can double as a keychain pill bottle:

      I love this about TTAG, every day one can learn something new… 🙂

    2. avatar Ridetoshoot says:

      I always thought that silencers and extended magazines should be a requirement. That way the gang banger’s would have a hard time hiding their pistols. But I see the issue, the shot spotters that the big cities have spent a ton of money on might not work as well…

  4. avatar AnOregonian says:

    Your link to the WashPo article is actually another link to the bill. If you could fix that to point to the article, that would be great.

      1. avatar Ebby123 says:

        IMO, unless you’re going to advocate in the comment section, don’t give them the traffic.

        Every click puts money in their pocket..

  5. We require muffler for cars, and I sure don’t like deaf dogs, makes it hard to control them out in the field.

  6. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    The argument against silencers contains the same flawed logic as the argument that suggests that reducing the rounds available to a firearm will somehow “save” lives because their will be less bullets with which to kill people. There’s a bloody-mindedness to both arguments that basically accepts that if people are going to be killed anyway, then making it “harder” for the killer to act is a morally superior thing to do.

    There is a tacit acceptance of killing in both these arguments that is really disturbing. It’s sort of like discovering that, during the era of National Prohibition, bootleggers and Prohibitionist preachers often covertly supported each other in keeping their areas “dry”. Gun controllers actually need “gun deaths” to keep their movement going.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I will tell you very simply why gun-control arguments to keep suppressors “regulated” are silly:
      (1) If I want to quietly assassinate someone, I can use a knife or even better a Garotte wire.
      (2) If I am a spree killer and I want to kill a lot of people with alarming them, I can use a knife or even better a Garotte wire. Killing a lot of people with a knife or Garotte wire requires a slightly different tactic that takes longer, but the end result is the same.
      If an assassin or spree killer can kill people just as easily and quietly with or without a suppressor, what is the point in continuing to “regulate” suppressors?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        You could also cut a hole in the back end of you car and use the whole vehicle to suppress the rifle.

        Now all you need is a hole saw, rifle and a parking spot.

  7. avatar Dan l says:

    I do not understand the logic of:

    something should be against the law because a criminal could use it to commit a crime.

    By that reasoning any car that can go above the speed limit should be illegal.

    All things should be illegal because people could use them to break a law, or make it ‘easier’ to break a law or conceal said crime.

    I sure hope this passes, but if it dont let it die a quick death. I think it being in limbo is stopping many people from further suppressor purchases. Im in thatboat. Once you take the suppressor plunge you never wanna go back.

  8. avatar Shire-man says:

    Hide mass shootings? If you’re really quiet nobody will notice the people dropping, running and screaming. Like, totally.

    Mufflers should be removed from trucks. The way they can just sneak up on huge groups of people is frightening.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    “The federal government has strictly limited the sale of firearm silencers for as long as James Bond and big-screen gangsters have used them to discreetly shoot enemies between the eyes.”

    So let me get this straight — suppressors must remain restricted because they are favored by James Bond villains and big-screen gangsters.

    Can those people be any more stupid?

    1. avatar C.S. says:

      Yes, Ralph, yes they can.

    2. avatar strych9 says:

      “Can those people be any more stupid?”

      We all know the answer is “Yes”. I swear these kind of people have meetings specifically to figure out how to make their ideas worse.

      1: “Well, our new package of proposals is pretty stupid but I feel like we we can go further. Ideas?”

      2:”I’m spent but Brad, down in accounting isn’t stupid, he’s flat-the-fuck-out retarded. Whenever I have a dumb idea he helps me take it to full-retard level!”

      1:”We go to print in four hours. These ideas simply have to get dumber and they need to get dumber quick. We also need reasoning behind the ideas and that reasoning needs to fall into being completely laughable. How good is Brad with justifying stupid ideas in really stupid ways? I mean I want justifications that make a mentally disabled FAS toddler with a dent in their skull and a taste for old paint chips to look smart.”

      2: “He’s that good. I’m sure of it.”

      1: “Get Brad up here and pump him full of coffee!”

    3. avatar RMS1911 says:

      now now demonkkkRATS get all their gun info from hollyweird. they think if you shoot somebody with a 12 guage they fly back 10 feet. they think Robocop and judge dredd
      were documentaries and that hollow points are armor piercing cop killers.

  10. avatar Joe R. says:

    Anyone close enough to see you shoot, will hear you shoot, not even BS hollywood makes silencers “silent”.

    If they’re able to discretely shoot you with a silencer, they can get the job done without it.

    btw – silencers are really nice to shoot with, just ask everyone at my boat-fire party at sea.

  11. avatar gargoil says:

    this parrot is dead

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      The parrot is only sleeping. Sheesh…

      1. avatar Timmy! says:

        He’s pinin’ for the fjords.

        1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          beautiful plumage, the norwegian blue…

  12. avatar Hannibal says:

    Yeah, because you can totally tell how loud a gun is by hearing it on youtube

    I was going to say these people are dumb but I’m not sure they are… they just expect everyone else to be

  13. avatar MouseGun says:

    They lost all credibility ten words in when they said “silencer”, instead of suppressor.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      I guess you won’t be buying your suppressors from SilencerCo, then.

      1. avatar MouseGun says:

        I have no faith in this passing, nor do I have the money to drop on a silencepressor, tax stamp or not.

        1. avatar 16V says:

          The original patent and the NFA both refer to the device as a “silencer”. “Supressor” may be more accurate, but has only been forced into vogue by dilettantes over the last coupla decades. Use whichever you prefer, but one can’t craft the argument that ‘suppressor’ is the more correct word.

          Just sayin’…

        2. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “I have no faith in this passing, nor do I have the money to drop on a silencepressor, tax stamp or not.”

          A ‘thread adapter’ will cost about twenty bucks and the oil filter on it about five bucks.

          Put ’em together, you get something like this:

        3. avatar Roymond says:

          Geoff, I couldn’t help wondering how that would work with a USED oil filter.

          If they pass this, I think I’ll find out. 🙂

          Though the filter on my Dodge isn’t that big!

        4. avatar PeterZ in West Tennessee says:

          If the bill passes you will be able to, legally, get a pipe thread adapter for a couple of bucks, screw it on the end of your AR, and then attach a $7 Fram oil filter. Instant silencer. Black paint optional.

  14. avatar Sven says:

    Air rifles of 22 caliber can get to 700 fps and beyond, just like that quiet 22 rimfire round with suppressor.
    A 38 special rifle with 24″ barrel @ a slow 500 ft per second is quiet like a suppressed 22 also. No real need for a suppressor for wimpy loads.

    Also check out the shotgun barrel extensions for quiet shooting.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Sven adds another dimension to my earlier point about alternate methods to discretely murder people without a firearm suppressor. And he is right, a 158 grain, .38 caliber bullet leaving the muzzle of a 24 inch long barrel at 600 fps will be amazingly quiet — and amazingly deadly if delivered to the head.

      To clarify this point, I shot a .44 Magnum rifle with a 24 inch barrel without hearing protection. My ears did not even ring. Mind you I was shooting hot loads with 240 grain bullets exiting the barrel at 1,900 fps.

  15. avatar former water walker says:

    WHAT?!? HUH? As an OFWG with slightly deteriorating hearing I resemble that remark. You can’t fix stupid… can you shoot it?

  16. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    If these morons really wanted to panic they’d realize the law doesn’t stop anyone who actually wants to do it from doing it and they’d go on Amazon and look up “freeze plugs” then look at the recommended products to go with them!

  17. avatar Rick the Bear (now in NH!!) says:

    Wow! That looks just like an FN P90/PS90. I’m guessing that it’s an aftermarket Ruger 10/22 kit. I want one!!

    1. avatar Timmy! says:

      I’ve got one. Hightower Armory (IIRC) makes it. It is pretty bitchin’ too!

  18. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    Oh, just for fun, let’s try fighting illogic and non-sequitur with the same:

    Come on, liberals! If silencers were so good for assassinating people, don’t you think that the police would already be using them?

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Ooh! An appeal to Black Lives Matter!

  19. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I’m glad we have a Alpha male soon to be president with at least two alpha male sons.
    Things will be very different. And for the better.

  20. avatar kenneth says:

    Does anyone but me find it very strange that these same people, who constantly point to England as having the greatest gun laws in the world, but yet somehow seem to manage to just ‘forget’ that England not only allows suppressors on their few legal weapons, they ENCOURAGE them?

  21. avatar Specialist38 says:

    My only concern if they pass a “Hearing Protection Act” is that they will then set about to make all firearms compliant.

    You may laugh, but I know I’m right. Careful what you ask for.

    I dont want to have to conceal an SR9c with a muffler.

    I damned sure don’t want to pay for a can on every gun i buy.

  22. avatar ropingdown says:

    Using a suppressor in the commission of a crime entitles the perp to a 30-year sentence under federal law. To translate that into terms even a journalist can understand, “no one is going to fill out a 4473 to buy a silencer …to commit a crime.” Criminals will do it criminally.

    I finally get it. The gun control crowd thinks that murder by gun is analogous to teenage sex: The more teenagers who do it, the more other teenagers think it’s OK. Mores change and perhaps behavior does legitimize forbidden actions.

    The problem with that confused view in relation to guns is….buying, owning, and shooting guns does not lead to more murders. If it did, no skeet, trap, or pistol club would be around for long.

    And so we discover the motive basis on which gun banners so frequently claim guns are just compensatory items that substitute emotionally for wangs: Gun-control advocates actually must believe that the owner of a gun has a strong urge to use it mindlessly, at every opportunity, just like a teenage guy possessed of a d[#k. No wonder they’re afraid of guns……..

  23. avatar CCDWGuy says:

    I bought a Colt SSA Umarex .177 Pellet pistol replica. It’s a gas at the range. It is co2 powered and has cartridges that you put a pellet in the back of and it loads and shoots just like a typical Single Action pistol. The RSO’s who have shot it just start giggling after two shots. They love it. I can’t wait for this Hearing Protection Act to pass so I can buy a suppressor for my Ruger Charger Takedown. Got a cowboy holster for the Colt for Christmas. How cool is that.

    1. avatar CCDWGuy says:

      Just thought I’d add this as mine is a NRA replica. Here is a video.

  24. avatar rt66paul says:

    Suppressors could be real nice by making a short barrelled rifle the proper length.
    Playing Devil’s advocate here, I can see a time when certain counties/cities may try to force shooting ranges to require suppressors because the people that moved in after the shooting range was there are now complaining about not being able to sleep at the crack of noon.
    These are the smae people that move in next to an airport and now complain because of the noise. They bought cheap, but now want thier house to be worth more, so nix on the airport.

  25. avatar NorincoJay says:

    These paranoid people should know all you need for a suppressor is duct tape and a liter bottle. I’ve seen it in movies.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Forget the movies….I’ve seen them in practice. They work better if they’re lightly wet inside.

  26. avatar Cjstl says:

    Now hold on, guys. They’re absolutely right. I do want a silencer so I can kill quietly. There is a whole family of squirrels in my attic, and each needs to die a very gruesome, very quiet death. I see no other way around it. They’re ruthless, and the big one ate through my trap. If I had the precision with a pellet gun that I once did, I’d take them out that way. But I’m afraid I’d just wing them and they’d retreat to my attic to die.

    1. avatar ATTAGReader says:

      You know, there is a lot of truth to this statement. I had wanted to dispatch a large raccoon that had taken up residence in one of our trees, but we are “within city limits” and “discharging a firearm” except in self defense is not legal. A suppressed .22 at sunset would have been the ticket. City politicians don’t like the idea of residents taking animal control problems into their own hands. I called up the police to see if I could shoot the varmint with a BB gun, especially as every year there are articles in the local news about rabid raccoons and other critters biting people and dogs. Police informed me that the filthy varmints are even protected from that, because the city, in its infinite wisdom, characterizes BB guns as “firearms”. And this is not California, folks, but North Carolina! You can’t put lipstick on a pig, and can’t remove the stink from a politician, least of all in a city controlled by (D) politicians.

  27. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “The federal government has strictly limited the [LEGAL] sale of firearm silencers for as long as …”

    … which has actually promoted illegal sales as well as home-made suppressors assembled clandestinely in basements and garages. In other words firearm suppressor laws have done ZERO to stop violent attackers from acquiring and using them.

    1. avatar million says:

      IOW markets, how do they work?

  28. I have no words in response to this BS article. How do they take themselves seriously?

  29. avatar Mark says:

    I recall when the bill legalizing possession of suppressors in Minnesota was introduced. The gun control lobby showed movie clips of movie assassins. The gun rights advocates brought facts such as 39 other states had already legalized possession of suppressors. To my surprise, our very liberal Governor signed it into law even after he said he intended to veto it.
    They use the same “silly and smart way” to legitimize the availability of suppressors for gun owners in England and the rest of the EU.

  30. avatar M1Lou says:

    If this passes, most of my modern guns will be getting a silencer. I already have tinnitus and love shooting. This really would help prevent more hearing damage for me.

  31. avatar Detroiter says:

    I continue to be of the opinion that this HPA should be priority one for our new administration. Even more so than national reciprocity ( which I think is more likely to be used against us in the future)

    To be fair I have to still read the fine print and figure out things like a) do you need an ffl to
    Manufacture them for sale? I assume so if you have to have a 4473 to buy one. And b) I assume like a gun they will legal to make at home for personal use.

  32. avatar Dan in CO says:

    Well, you did say it was “the argument”, you didn’t claim it to be an intelligent argument.

  33. avatar Roymond says:

    Of all the crazy things I’ve seen used to make a suppressor, the one that takes the cake for me is LEGOs. It was a one-use because it shattered the thin round “brick” in the middle, but it was pretty effective.

    (Five shots, and it was falling apart.)

  34. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Today I learned the Washing Post considers .22LR rifles to be “high-powered”

    I stopped reading there.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      Yeah, that was pretty much where the palm hit the face for me, too.

  35. avatar James Crum says:

    Did not know that Dorner used silencers… because they are banned here in California.

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