Iowa House File 2381, a bill which sought to legalize the possession and ownership of firearm suppressors in Iowa, was denied a hearing in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee chaired by Senator Thomas Courtney (D-44), and is no longer active. HF 2381, formerly known as HF 384, passed the Iowa State House by an 83-16 margin.
The opposition for the legalization of suppressors stems from the vehemently anti-gun Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Robb Hogg (D- 33). Despite overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, Sen. Hogg continues to oppose the measure in a blanket attempt to block any and all legislation that advances the Second Amendment.
What Sen. Hogg does not understand is that the legalization of suppressors is about more than the Second Amendment. It is about jobs. It is about economic development. It is about hearing protection.
The primary role of a suppressor is to reduce the overall sound signature of the host firearm to hearing safe levels. Despite their name, suppressors do not silence anything. Instead, they simply trap the expanding gasses at the muzzle and allow them to slowly cool, in a similar fashion to car mufflers. Their muffling capabilities intrinsically make them a type of hearing protection device for both the shooter and those around them.
Even the most effective suppressors on the market on the smallest and quietest calibers reduce the peak sound level of the gunshot to that of a chainsaw or a hammer drill (110-115 dB). According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “without proper hearing protection, running a chain saw for only 2 minutes can become dangerous to the human ear.” For centerfire rifle and pistol calibers, suppressors can only reduce the peak sound level to that of a snare drum at a rock concert, or a jet engine at takeoff (130-140 dB).
According to NIOSH, individuals should not be exposed to sound levels over 85 dB for more than eight hours (Occupational Noise Exposure, Revised Criteria 1998). For every three dB increase, exposure time is cut in half. At levels between 130-140 dB, the sound level of most suppressed firearms, noise levels are loud enough that only a few rounds can be safely fired without earplugs or earmuffs. Any exposure to sounds in excess of 140 dB will cause instantaneous and irreversible hearing damage. However, when suppressors are used in conjunction with traditional hearing protection devices, shooters can safely expose themselves to hours of additional shooting without risking permanent damage to their hearing.
Iowans have made it clear that they want to become the 40th state to allow their citizens to protect their hearing by possessing and using suppressors. In order for it to become a reality this year, the Senate and House leadership will need to agree to include language from HF 2381 in their end of session leadership bill. They will only do so if you keep the pressure on them.
Please contact members of the Senate and House Leadership IMMEDIATELY and urge them to support the legalization of suppressor ownership in Iowa. Urge your friends and family to do the same. Without everyone’s support, your rights will not be granted.
Contact information can be found here:
Senate President Jochum: Pam.Jochum@legis.iowa.gov (563) 556-6530
Senate Majority Leader Gronstal: Mike.Gronstal@legis.iowa.gov (712) 328-2808
Senate President Pro Tempore Sodders: Steve.Sodders@legis.iowa.gov (641) 751-4140
Senate Majority Whip: Joe.Bolkcom@legis.iowa.gov (319) 337-6280
House of Representatives:
Speaker Paulsen: Kraig.Paulsen@legis.iowa.gov (515) 281-3521
Speaker Pro Tempore Olson: Steven.Olson@legis.iowa.gov (515) 281-3221
House Majority Leader Upmeyer: Linda.Upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov (641) 357-8807
House Majority Whip Hagenow: Chris.Hagenow@legis.iowa.gov (515) 281-3221