Firearm owners are often given the comparison that “if you have to get a license to drive then you should get a license to own a firearm”. Then along that same logic if your car is required to have a muffler to reduce the amount of noise it creates, why can’t Canadians use suppressors on their firearms to reduce the amount of noise they create? If the train of logic is good enough to create a law, then why can’t it be applied to amend law for actual public safety?
Slow down before you start send us your hate mail firearm owners. We’re not advocating mandatory suppressor use in our opening paragraph. We’re just drawing a logical comparison using an argument that we’re all very familiar with. Take a deep breath, now let’s move on.
Suppressors, silencers, gas traps, mufflers, or whatever you want to call them are very much a public health and safety concern. Just not in the way that Hollywood, the media, and your Political representatives would have you believe. With a Government survey coming in with an estimated 6 million firearm owners in the 1980’s – early 90’s, the amount of firearm owners in Canada is much higher than the Government will have you believe (source 1). The recorded amount of firearm owners that have gotten licensed has come in around 2 million (source 2). Since by definition after the passage of the Firearms Act only licensed firearm owners are law abiding, if we’re to only talk about the 2 million license holders that’s still a population of Canadians that is 3.15 times greater than the amount of registered Hockey players (source 3). Hockey players are allowed to wear safety gear, in fact some pieces of gear are mandatory depending on the league.
Wait a minute you say, more Canadians play Hockey than just the registered players. Well we’re using only the amount of ‘registered’ aka ‘licensed’ firearm owners in our counting, so to do a fair comparison we’re also using the amount of registered Hockey players. Otherwise as we’ve already shown, there’s more non-violent firearm owners in Canada if we include the unlicensed amount there as well. Again if you’re going to argue a point in a debate you have to concede the point to the other side if applicable (much like that car analogy).
So how is this a public safety concern? Simple, the better a person’s hearing the safer they are to themselves and the public around them. With licensed firearm owners outnumbering registered hockey players, also known as the most Canadian of games, at an over 3 to 1 number firearm ownership is in and of itself a very Canadian way of life. With nearly 10% of our public population being exposed to noise levels that cause immediate hearing damage, if we can reduce it at the cause of the noise then why isn’t this a health and safety issue that the Canadian Government is exploring?
To give you a little greater of understanding of comparable noise levels versus what a suppressor performs at we’ll include some sourced information at the end of the article. To sum it up, if you can hear a jackhammer from a far distance, you can hear a suppressed gunshot. If you can hear a Jet plane, siren, or a pneumatic drill from a decent distance, you can hear a suppressed gunshot because it is in fact louder. Yes that’s right, your average centerfire gunshot (most rifles, shotguns, and pistols in case you’re wondering) is louder than a jet engine. If you can hear a gas leaf blower, a snow blower, or even a lawnmower from a decent distance then you can hear a supressed rimfire gunshot (the smallest of ammunition).
Basically, what you see on the screen of your TV is a lie. Anyone telling you that suppressors make it so you can’t hear a gunshot at all is either uninformed, or at worst lying. Suppressors only turn the noise of a gunshot from instantly being able to cause hearing damage, to a momentary noise that is just barely hearing safe for small periods of time. Like any other piece of safety gear, they would be a welcome addition to the kit that firearm owners could employ to reduce the chance of harm while shooting.
Remember, a population that can hear, is a safer population to live in.
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Information below is gathered from sources 4, 5, 6, & 7.
Immediate hearing loss possible without hearing protection.
Firearms with muzzle break 160 decibels
Fireworks at 3 feet, firecracker, shotgun 150 decibels
Average gunshot is 140 decibels
Hearing loss can happen in as little as 2 minutes in this range.
Jackhammer is 130 decibels
Suppressed average gunshot is 130 decibels
Jet plane takeoff, siren, pneumatic drill is 120 decibels
Suppressed rimfire and subsonic ammunition is 116 decibels
Dangerous to hearing, hearing loss can happen in as little as 5 minutes at above 105 decibels. Wear hearing protection.
Gas leaf blower, snow blower is 106 decibels
Hair dryer, kitchen blender, food processor is 94 decibels
Very loud and dangerous to hearing, wear hearing protection.
Subway, passing motorcycle, gas mower is 91 decibels
Below this level is a safe decibel rating for hearing. Prolonged exposure above 85 decibels will start to damage hearing.
Group conversation, vacuum cleaner, alarm clock is 70 decibels
Fake suppressed shots (like the movies or media would have you believe) are 70 decibels
Normal human conversation, dishwasher or clothes dryer is 60 decibels
Refrigerator humming is 45 decibels
Human whispering is 30 – 40 decibels