I recently got a job as an account manager with Gemtech, a local silencer manufacturer who supplies military and law enforcement agencies, as well as the civilian market, worldwide. There are two questions I hear frequently outside of work. The first rather annoying query I get is, “How does a woman get involved in the suppressor business?” which is usually followed by a great question, “Why would anyone need a silencer?”
I’ll address the first question another time.
Breaking the Stigma
Many in the general public associate silencers with assassins, since often times that is the only way people see them being used on television or in movies. In reality, suppressors, also called silencers or cans, are used everyday by military, law enforcement, hunters, competitive shooters, and gun enthusiasts. Hollywood has given suppressors a bad rap, and it does a great disservice the public.
There are many reasons why someone would want to own a silencer. Besides reducing gunshots to a hearing safe level, suppressors also mitigate recoil and muzzle rise. This makes shooting suppressed a great introduction for new shooters who might be intimidated by loud gunshots and recoil.
Sportsmen benefit from hunting suppressed with subsonic ammo since their prey cannot hear the bullet crack. With reduced recoil and muzzle rise, hunters are able to get back on target quicker if a follow up shot is needed. They also keep the area quiet for other hunters who are nearby.
Suppressors, by nature, trap lead and suppress sound, making them a great option for shooters who are pregnant.
Suppressors also reduce noise pollution from shooting ranges near residential areas, or from officers who must dispatch an animal in town.
Every shooter with the ability to hear can benefit from using a suppressor, and the number one reason is hearing loss. I consider this to be a need.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 48 million Americans suffer from major hearing loss, and it’s the third most prevalent health issue our citizens face. Noise induced hearing loss is the most common cause of hearing loss in our society, and the sad fact is that it’s totally preventable.
In their brochure “Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics” they state: “Hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience including: physical health, emotional and mental health, perception of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships and self esteem, not to mention school and work.” It’s important to invest in protecting your hearing as well as your life.
The first silencer was patented by Hiram Maxim, a mechanical engineering graduate of MIT. He had quite an interesting background. His father Hiram Stevens Maxim was the inventor of the Maxim Machine Gun. His uncle Hudson Maxim was an inventor of ballistic propellants and explosives. Imagine the conversations at the family gatherings of such creative and innovative people!
Early in his career, Maxim worked for the American Projectile Company, and shortly after was hired at Pope Manufacturing Company in their motor vehicle department. Given his resume and pedigree, it seems natural that he would come to simultaneously develop the first gun silencer and engine muffler.
Regulating Safety Equipment
Maxim Silencers were purchased without regulation by sportsmen like the former US president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, until the passing of the National Firearms Act (NFA) in 1934. This required all NFA firearms, including silencers, be registered and taxed.
Contrary to public perception, suppressors are not illegal for law abiding Americans to own, with the exception of the District of Columbia, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island which have banned civilians from possessing silencers.
In the remaining states, individuals may possess and use suppressors for lawful purposes, but first they must go through a background check and pay a $200 tax stamp. The added cost can be a barrier and a deterrent for some individuals. To learn more about the process of buying a suppressor visit http://www.silencershop.com/how-to-buy-a-silencer.
The tax stamp and registration process for suppressors is being challenged by the Hearing Protection Act. This bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Matt Salman R-Arizona, and is endorsed by the American Suppressor Association and the NRA. If we want to see change it’s important that we contact our elected officials, vote, and inform other voters on this issue. To learn more about the Hearing Protection Act, go to https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3799/all-info.
“Defend your life and your hearing”
I carry a firearm everyday for self defense. I set up my everyday carry (EDC) to suit my specific needs for concealed carry. Why not do the same for my home defense firearm?
I’m a mom of three, and if someone is breaking down my door, I will do what is necessary to defend my babies. If I am forced to discharge my firearm in my home, I know my children and I are most likely not going to be wearing hearing protection. Shooting unsuppressed inside my home will definitely lead to hearing damage and possible hearing loss. How much is my family’s hearing worth to me?
The same scenario applies to vehicle defense. We train for these situations because we know these are possibilities. We prepare for the worst to avoid or minimize the trauma of a violent encounter. Consider minimizing the hearing damage from the use of a defensive firearm.
So, why would anyone need a silencer? Well, how much is your hearing worth to you?
As a a rape, domestic violence, and stabbing survivor Autumn promotes and advocates for self-defense training, concealed carry, firearm safety, and continued firearms training. She hopes that by sharing her experiences, she will help change the public’s perception of who a gun owner is, and why the Second Amendment is so important for all Americans, especially women.
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