Politicians are calling for a ban on silencers. Here’s what you need to know.

By Whitney Tipton

Politicians are calling for a ban on silencers after a disgruntled Virginia Beach, Virginia, city employee used one while gunning down 12 co-workers.

It was reported that the gunman, DeWayne Craddock, 40, used two .45-caliber handguns equipped with “extended” magazines and one with a suppressor.

A silencer, sometimes called a “suppressor,” is any device fitted to the end of a gun that lowers its sound output, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a tweet Sunday about suppressors, linking to a Washington Post op-ed that compared the sound of suppressed gunfire to a chair scraping the floor.

“When someone gets shot by a gun with a silencer, it’s quiet. Witnesses might not hear. Police will be less likely to track down the shooter,” said 2020 Democratic hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand, who mentioned silencers early in her candidacy, according to a March 14 tweet.

Gun-control is a prominent platform component of Democratic 2020 candidates, and may now likely include banning the accessory. Here are some takeaways as discussions about suppressors continue:

Suppressors do not make gunfire silent

Suppressors do not make gunfire silent, or even quiet, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. The decibel (dB) level of a Glock 17 9mm, a gun similar to the one used in Virginia Beach, with a suppressor is still 126 dB, or between a thunderclap and a cheering stadium. Police responding to the Virginia Beach shooting reported the “sounds of gunfire” led them to the shooter, according to USA Today.
“Despite what you might believe from watching TV shows or movies or listening to gun control advocates, suppressors (commonly known as ‘silencers’) do not make guns ‘silent,’ not unless you consider an ambulance siren or a jackhammer are silent,” said John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

They are very difficult to obtain

Regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934, obtaining one legally means being fingerprinted and photographed, going through an extensive background check, registering the part with the federal government and paying the government a $200 tax beyond the cost of the actual suppressor, which averages around $1,000. After the paperwork, waiting for approval could take eight months or longer.

“Silencers are a luxury item for gun owners. They’re very expensive and take a long time to approve. I’ve had customers who have waited up to two years,” said Brandon Maddox, owner of Dakota Silencer and a member of the National ATF Advisory Board for silencers.

They are not common

The ATF‘s 2017 statistics showed that there were 1.3 million total silencers registered in the United States, which is roughly double than the number of currently registered machine guns, another notoriously difficult weapon to obtain. And much less than the 9.3 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2015 alone.

They are rarely used to commit high-profile crimes

The ATF has recommended prosecutions for an average of 44 silencer-linked crimes per year, which amounts of .003% of registered silencers, according to the Washington Free Beacon. A memo obtained by the Beacon showed the ATF arguing for deregulation of silencers due to their rare use.

“Most of my customers use them for hunting,” said Maddox. “I haven’t had a suppressor involved in a crime, for some reason criminals don’t seem to use them.”

“Since suppressors are registered with the ATF, people obtaining them understand that all of their information will be on a federal registry. Their name, height, weight, physical address where the item is kept, etc. You can’t own a silencer ‘under the radar’ and I think that makes a difference for criminals.”

“In fact, I’m surprised politicians would want to ban them, given the wealth of information they get about the purchasers,” Maddox added.

It remains to be seen where suppressors will end up in the national gun control picture, as politicians publicly debate issues raised by the Virginia Beach shooting.

President Trump’s move in Dec. 2018 to ban “bump stocks,” or accessories that make semi-automatic guns function like fully automatic weapons, angered some gun supporters. Reporters asked Trump about silencers Friday before he boarded Marine One for his trip to London, the Daily Beast reported.

“I do not like them at all,” he said.

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5 thoughts on “Politicians are calling for a ban on silencers. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. To give one who is not familiar with the sound level that suppressors reduce the decibel level to a few comparisons might be in order.
    It might have been wise if this was done by the civilian disarmament proponents before they ran to the cameras or took to twitter,however truth and facts are not a part of their agenda.

    A suppressed .45 caliber pistol, like the one that is reported to have been used in Virginia Beach, is many times louder than a nail gun:

    A suppressed .45 caliber pistol produces about 130-135 dBA.

    A nail gun produces about 100 dBA.

    Conversational human speech 60 dBA.

    Decibels (dBA) are a logarithmic scale, so sound levels increase in a non-linear fashion. A 3 dBA increase doubles the sound pressure level. (Although most people perceive a 6 to 10 dBA increase as double the noise level.)

    The 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear.

    As an interesting comparison, an unsuppressed pistol produces about 165 dBA. So the difference between an unsuppressed and suppressed pistol is about the same difference in sound pressure level between a suppressed pistol and a nail gun.

    Here is a chart of common sounds and the dBA levels for those sounds.


  2. Banning Silencers won’t save lives, having more good guy’s/gal’s CCing hand guns will.
    Oh yea also if you leftards want to save even more lives ban
    GUN FREE ZONES….and PParenthoodies

  3. Politicians are calling for a ban on silencers, why because of ” one deranged ” fool, yes
    that’s what Liberals do, never blame the perpetrator blame the tool you don’t like.

    And then you have a tweet from ” Cankles Clinton ” trying to show she’s still relevant but
    we all know she’s still a Looser !! And the remainder of this bandwagon probably is just
    looking for votes……

    The US already has one of the strictest control on a silencer. background check and a
    $200 tax stamp per device along with a six-twelve month waiting period

    Just think about this ” Legal” regulation of silencers varies widely around the world.
    In some nations, such as Finland, France, and New Zealand some or all types of suppressor
    are essentially “unregulated ” sold through retail stores or by mail-order ???

    Liberal’s, silencers do make a sound, this isn’t Hollywood and there foolish display of what
    they do is pure nonsense. Liberal Politicians and Hollywood both live in a fantasy world.

  4. “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a tweet Sunday about suppressors, linking to a Washington Post op-ed that compared the sound of suppressed gunfire to a chair scraping the floor.”

    Once again the Harpy Hag is opining of something she knows nothing about and makes herself a fool,that or just pushing the civilian disarmament agenda.

    Even though Maxim invented the device and referred to it as a silencer,by the decibel reductions they give in center fire pistol rounds such as were used,the term suppressor is appropriate as one can still discern,it’s gunfire,as was reported.

    Perhaps she has been given incorrect information or she actually believes productions of Hollywood.

    For a better understanding of the subject for those who haven’t had the experience of suppressors in varying calibers ,a exploitative article may help.

    Virginia Beach: The Silencer
    By Keith Finch – June 3, 201


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