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Research Article

Firearm Sound Moderators: Issues of Criminalization and the Second Amendment

“Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB [decibels] can permanently damage hearing,” according to Dr. Michael Stewart, Professor of Audiology at Central Michigan University. “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level.” However, “studies have shown that only about half of shooters wear hearing protection all the time when target practicing. Hunters are even less likely to wear hearing protection because they say they cannot hear approaching game or other noises.”

“A single shot from a large caliber firearm, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant,” writes Dr. Brian J. Fligor of Harvard Medical School. That means that most hunters likely suffer from such damage. He adds: “Loud explosions (that peak for a few milliseconds at levels greater than 130–140 dB) may cause immediate hearing loss (this is called ‘acoustic trauma’).” While recommending hearing protection devices, he also advises to “try to reduce noise at the source,” such as by “replacing mufflers” and avoiding “ineffective mufflers” on tools and yard equipment. For firearms, reducing noise at the source would mean using sound moderators, otherwise known as silencers or suppressors.

Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., J.D., is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the new book Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance, and Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State”, The Founders' Second Amendment and Securing Civil Rights, the latter two of which were cited in the the U.S. Supreme Court cases of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago as well as his earlier Amici Curiae Brief in Heller on behalf of 55 members of the Senate, the Senate President, and 250 members of the House of Representatives. Dr. Halbrook is also the author of the book, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Independent Institute).

New from Stephen P. Halbrook!
Presents the definitive history of how the Nazi regime used gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power. Previous books on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust fail even to mention the laws restricting firearms ownership, which rendered Jews, political opponents, and other disfavored groups defenseless.

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