If you are a Virginia resident, please complete the form below to send an email to your legislators in the Statehouse.
As a constituent, I urge you to oppose any attempt to ban suppressors in Virginia during the upcoming special session. Banning suppressors would put the health and safety of law-abiding Virginians at risk while doing nothing to target dangerous criminals.
Suppressors are one of the most misunderstood tools in existence. Also known as silencers, suppressors are hearing protection devices that reduce the sound of a gunshot by 20 – 35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs. Regardless of what they are called, it is important to note that no device can actually silence the noise of a gunshot. Even the quietest suppressed gunshots are as loud or louder than a jackhammer striking cement.
Of the more than 1,650,000 legally obtained suppressors in circulation in the 42 states where they are currently legal to own, over 50,000 are possessed in Virginia. Thousands of hunters and recreational gun owners in the state use suppressors to protect themselves from preventable hearing damage.
Suppressors are among the most heavily regulated items in the country. In order to purchase a one in Virginia, buyers must 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.
Three Democratic Governors have signed standalone pro-suppressor bills into law in recent years, including Montana Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Steve Bullock. In a 2015 letter to the Montana legislature, Gov. Bullock 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.”
For these reasons, I ask that you oppose any attempt to ban suppressors in Virginia. Thank you for your consideration.