Northam Promoting Anti-Gun Agenda Ahead of Protecting Health & Safety of Law-Abiding Virginians


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                      CONTACT: Knox Williams

June 18, 2019                                                                                                          

American Suppressor Association: Northam Promoting Anti-Gun Agenda Ahead of Protecting Health & Safety of Law-Abiding Virginians
Urges State Lawmakers to Oppose Virginia Governor’s New Firearms Restrictions


ATLANTA GA – As Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and other state Democratic leaders push a slate of new firearms restrictions ahead of a special legislative session on July 9th, the Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association said today that the Governor’s proposals would put the health and safety of law-abiding Virginians at risk while doing nothing to target dangerous criminals.

Among Northam’s proposals is a statewide ban on suppressors, which tens of thousands of hunters and law-abiding gun owners in Virginia use for hearing protection.  According to multiple government studies, including one by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suppressors can play a critical role in preventing noise induced hearing loss.  However, contrary to the misconceptions promoted by Hollywood and anti-gun activists, suppressors only mitigate the sound of a gunshot but do not silence it.  In fact, even the quietest suppressed gunshots are as loud or louder than a jackhammer striking cement.

“The anti-gun agenda that is being promoted by Governor Northam would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy in Virginia Beach and it does nothing to target criminals, but it would put the health and safety of law-abiding Virginians at risk,” said Knox Williams, President & Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association.  “Thousands of hunters and recreational gun owners in Virginia use suppressors to protect themselves from preventable hearing damage. Study after study have shown these men and women to be among the most law-abiding citizens in the country.  It’s deeply troubling that Governor Northam is seeking to exploit the Virginia Beach tragedy to advance his anti-gun agenda, but it’s our hope that the facts, common-sense and a commitment to public health will prevail in the weeks ahead.”

Suppressors are already among the most heavily regulated items in the country. In order to purchase one, buyers must live in one of the 42 states where they are legal to own, send in an application including fingerprints and passport photos to ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax, notify their Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), pass an FBI NICS background check, and wait an indeterminate amount of time for ATF to process the application. As of June 2019, average wait times range between 5 to 18 months.

Contrary to Northam’s anti-gun efforts, three Democratic Governors have signed standalone pro-suppressor bills into law in recent years, including Montana Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Steve Bullock, who said,Suppressors mitigate the sound of a shot, but do not silence it. The use of suppressors for hunting, when hunters cannot wear ear protection because they need to be aware of their surroundings, can help protect against hearing loss.  This is especially true for our younger hunters…..


  • Suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. Current Federal regulations already carry severe penalties for criminal use.  That was echoed in a recent appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos by Virginia Beach police chief James Cervera who made clear no gun law would have prevented this tragedy.  Stephanopoulos asked Cervera if “we need more restrictions” in light of the attack.  Cervera responded by talking about a gun-related paper he and other chiefs published a year ago, then observed, “But I don’t think most of that would have mattered in this case.”
  • Second Amendment opponents would also have Americans believe that suppressors fully silence the noise of a gunshot. This notion is unequivocally false. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs.
  • Even the most effective suppressors on the market, on the smallest and quietest calibers, reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to around 110 – 120 To put that in perspective, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a gunshot using a suppressor is still as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB).
  • According to Ralph Clark, CEO of ShotSpotter, the law enforcement tool that helps police identify and localize gunshots in cities and urban areas, suppressed gunfire can still be detected by their technology.
  • Most hunters do not wear hearing protection in the field because they want to hear their surroundings, including other people in the area. Suppressors allow hunters to maintain full situational awareness while still protecting their hearing, simultaneously increasing safety for hunters and non-hunters alike.