Gun Laws & Legislation

CCW Weekend: Suppressors Are The Latest Sacrifice Bunt

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Had one to guess, there’s going to be new legislation or an executive order banning suppressors, just like there was one banning bump stocks. Just as with banning bump stocks, it’s a sacrifice bunt and not a very good one at that.

Part of the problem with gun politics in the United States is that extremists on both sides don’t want to compromise, and the people that want to meet in the middle do everything they can to miss the forest for the trees.

Most proposed gun legislation is concerned with people who buy guns legally, but the problem there is most crimes committed with guns are committed by people who don’t. Since most deaths by gunshot are suicides, a great many could be prevented if more people went to therapy or at least talked to their doctor.

When school shootings happen, the liberals blame the assault rifles, the conservatives want to arm the teachers. Meanwhile, very few people are saying “those kids wouldn’t have gotten their hands on that AR if someone in the home had just locked it in a damn safe” or “those social media posts seemed like a clue.”

Granted, these issues are vastly more complex than that, but the point is that a lot of people aren’t not paying attention to the right things.

Now, people who don’t know anything about guns at all think that suppressors (which they inexorably refer to as “silencers”) reduce the sound of a gunshot to that of a cat with a cough because, after all, James Bond movies are true-to-life.

They don’t. Most suppressors attenuate the sound of a normal gunshot (yes, yes, I know, subsonic this and that and yadda yadda yadda; skip it, comments section) by about 30 dB.

This means the typical gun firing typical hardball ammo produces a sound level of about 130 dB when suppressed. That’s about the sound level you’d experience standing 100 feet away from a jet taking off, or from the shriek of a toddler that’s just been told “no” or the painful, blood-curdling, forlorn wail that emanates from a person when the existential dread and futility of existence hits them in their early 30s.

That level of sound is instantly painful, easily identified as a gunshot and easily heard by anyone in the immediate vicinity.

That actually makes them viable safety equipment both for recreational shooters and hunters. In fact, many European countries allow for big game hunting with suppressors for that very reason.

Additionally, the National Firearms Act – credit where due – could be said to have reduced gun crime involving suppressors to almost nil. Penalties for illegal possession and certainly for criminal use are stiff; a person can receive 10 years in prison for simply possessing an unregistered suppressor and 30 years for committing a crime with one.

Prior to the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934, suppressors had been used in the commission of a good number of violent crimes, especially in connection with the illegal liquor trade and by members of various organized criminal enterprises.

According to the Western Criminology Review, a Lexis-Nexis (database containing legal cases) search revealed 167 court cases involving criminal charges and a suppressor between 1995 and 2005. Of those, 136 were for possession alone, meaning only 21 court cases involving suppressors were for anything other than a person illegally having one in that period.

Of those 21 cases, only 8 resulted in convictions of criminal convictions related to the suppressor beyond simple possession. We can therefore infer that while some criminal activity takes place using suppressors, it’s not much.

Just like bump stocks, someone used a suppressor in commission of a terrible crime that has been all over the news. Just like bump stocks, people who don’t actually know anything are now loudly advocating for an outright ban on suppressors.

And despite every indication being that they are not really a problem, it may well be that they get sacrificed to the anti-gun left when our supposed leaders could be taking the time to identify the causes of violent acts rather than the tools with which they are carried out.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit