New Study On Hearing Loss Could Bolster The Case For Gun Suppressors

Gear

How many of you protect your ears when you go out to the gun range? Not many, according to science — and the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association wants to deregulate suppressors to help you out.


Related: Gun Silencers May Get Easier To Buy, But Their Makers Are Struggling »

According to a new study in “The Laryngoscope,” a medical journal in the field of otolaryngology, 21.4% of gun users never protect their ears while shooting.

Titled “Epidemiology of firearm and other noise exposures in the United States,” the survey found that shooting without hearing protection has “potentially serious long-term hearing health consequences.”

This is a boon to the NRA, which has cited hearing damage as a reason to change the classification of suppressors as controlled weapons under the National Firearms Act — a standard since 1934 — and allow them to be purchased from federal firearms license holders by any buyer who passes an FBI instant background check, according to Guns.com.

“While earplugs and earmuffs are important tools in this battle against hearing loss, expanding access to suppressors will increase the safety options for shooters reluctant to employ other methods of hearing protection,” the NRA said in a press release.

Last January, South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan introduced the “Hearing Protection Act” to remove suppressors from the list of NFA weapons. Currently, the bill has 137 co-sponsors but no committee hearing date set, and suppressor manufacturers are waiting anxiously for a resolution.

But the suppressor has found favor with the White House. It’s been publicly endorsed by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., a hunting aficionado who did a promotional video for the suppressor manufacturer SilencerCo.

“The results of the study, and the drawbacks of some widely-used hearing protection options, show the importance of increasing access to firearm suppressors,” said the NRA’s release.

But you’ve got to wonder: Is easier access to thousand-dollar suppressors really going to help the nearly one-quarter of shooters who can't be bothered to reach for a ten-buck set of ear protectors on a range?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

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(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

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After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

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(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

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