Iowa lawmakers pushed the legalization of gun suppressors, which are used to quiet the noise a gunshot can make, one step further.
The bill to legalize them was passed through the Iowa Senate on Thursday, March 17, 2016, with a 46 – 4 vote.
Only a small handful of states, including Iowa and Illinois, prohibit suppressors, according to a map (see below) from the American Suppressor Association. Other states allow them for hunting.
Those who support gun suppressors say they help protect your hearing, according to the American Suppressor Association. The association’s website notes that they reduce noise complaints, improve accuracy and can make for safer hunting. SilencerCo, a company that makes and sells silencers agrees.
“Hunters rarely use hearing protection because listening is crucial when tracking game,” read a statement on the benefits of gun suppressors by SilencerCo. “Unsuppressed gunfire from hunting rifles is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss…”
Opponents say silencers are a threat to public safety. The Violence Policy Center says that silencers have been used in violent crimes, and provided a list of incidents in a publication against gun suppressors. Those incidents include a situation where a shooter reportedly killed and injured multiple people, yet no neighbors heard any of the 14 shots that were supposedly fired.
“Although the limited information available suggests that the current regulation of silencers under the NFA is working to keep criminal use of the devices rare, silencers—both legal and illegal—have been involved in serious and sometimes deadly crimes that graphically illustrate the threat to public safety that making them widely available to the general public would represent,” read the publication.