Help Us Fight in Virginia

Virginia: Don’t Let the Legislature Take Your Suppressors Away

The legislative attempt to ban firearm suppressors in Virginia is built on the misconception that suppressors can render the noise of a gunshot silent or inaudible. This could hardly be further from the truth as even the quietest suppressed gunshot is as loud as a jackhammer striking concrete. Suppressors are not a danger to society and banning them will not save lives.

Over 1,750,000 suppressors are owned by law-abiding citizens in the 42 states that now allow suppressor ownership. Virginia is one such state. According to ATF’s most recent report, in May 2019 there were 60,811 lawfully obtained suppressors in circulation in Virginia. Today, there are likely nearly 70,000.

Federal regulations carry enhanced penalties for criminal use. Legally obtained suppressors are used so rarely in crime that ATF has publicly stated that suppressors “should not be viewed as a threat to public safety.”

Take Action Now

  • EMAIL – Email your legislator using the contact form below
  • CALL – Call your legislators and ask them to oppose any ban on suppressors
  • MEET – Get to Richmond and meet with your legislators in person
  • JOIN – Join ASA today. Help support our advocacy efforts
  • Encourage others to call and schedule meetings with their legislators
  • Stay tuned for updates
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Current Bills in Virginia

HB 961

Prohibiting sale, transport, etc., of assault firearms, certain firearm magazines, silencers.

Current Status: Tabled by Senate Committe until 2021

VIEW BILL

SB 16

Assault firearms and certain firearm magazines; prohibiting sale, transport, etc., penalties.

Current Status: Stricken

VIEW BILL

There's Nothing Silent About Silencers

No tool can make a gunshot silent. Guns are simply too loud. Silencers, also known as suppressors, simply reduce the dangerously loud noise of a gunshot to safer levels. Suppressed gunshots are still as loud or louder than a jackhammer striking concrete. Would you trust anyone who told you that a jackhammer is too quiet to hear?

Federal Regulations

Suppressors are regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 and fall under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). In order to buy a suppressor, you must send ATF an application including fingerprints, passport photos, and a $200 transfer tax, notify your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), and wait for ATF to process the application. Upon approval, ATF will enter your information into a national registry.

Federal regulations carry enhanced penalties for criminal use. Legally obtained suppressors are used so rarely in crime that ATF has publicly stated that suppressors “should not be viewed as a threat to public safety.”

SUPPRESSORS = HEARING SAFETY

An unsuppressed gunshot ranges from 140 – 185 dB

Exposure to a single shot can cause permanent hearing damage

The most serious threat to hearing comes from recreational hunting or target shooting 1

“Silenced” gunshots are still as loud as a jackhammer striking concrete 2

70–80% of hunters never wear hearing protection 2,3

“[Suppressors] should not be viewed as a threat to public safety,”

—ATF 5

“[The National Hearing Conservation Association] supports the use of firearm noise suppressors as a form of an engineering noise control to reduce hazardous noise exposures.”6

1 Dr. William W. Clark, Director of the Washington university school of medicine’s program in audiology

2 Additional information on noise levels and exposure limits can be found through CDC, NIOSH, 3M, or UF Studies

3 Wagner A, Stewart M, Lehman ME. (2006) Risk patterns and shooting habits of recreational firearm users. In: Abstracts of the National Hearing Conservation Association Annual Conference 2006, Tampa, Florida. NHCA Spectrum 23(Suppl. 1):28.

4 Stewart M, Foley L, Lehman ME, Gerlach A. (2011) Risks Faced by Recreational Firearm Users. Audiology Today, March-April:38–52.

5 Turk R. (2017) Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations. Federal Firearms Regulations: 6-7.

6 Blank A. (2019) National Hearing Conservation Association. Letter to Knox Williams: 1-2.

Virginia Updates

2020 NewsASALegislationOwnershipVirginia 2020

VIRGINIA: SUPPRESOR BAN LEGISLATION DEFEATED

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Hannah Bleak
February 17, 2020
2020 NewsASALegislationOwnershipVirginia 2020

VIRGINIA: AMENDED HB 961 PASSES COMMITTEE

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Knox Williams
February 7, 2020