Pro-gun silencer and suppressor advocates have expressed support for legislation allowing ownership of these devices.
Bill 73-36, introduced by Sen. Tony Ada, amends current laws removing restrictions on the ownership of gun suppressors and silencers.
During the public hearing on the bill, Ada said public perception of the effects of firearm silencers or suppression devices have largely been exaggerated by movies and pop culture. In reality, he says, the reduction in the noise produced by silencers and suppression devices is only about 30 decibels.
He says there are three main reasons people own suppressors and silencers: reduction of noise pollution, hearing protection, and safety training.
Under federal law, purchasers of suppressors and silencers must go through the same procedures as those required for the purchase of an ordinary firearm and several more. Therefore, those with felony criminal records, history of mental illness or a history of alcohol and substance abuse will be unable to secure clearance to purchase these devices.
Members of the public also spoke during the hearing. Knox Williams, the president and executive director of the American Suppressor Association, and Deborah Reyes, a firearms instructor certified by the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, both support the intent of the bill.
“Suppressors are one of the only tools to reduce the noise of the gunshot source and we know through scientific studies and multiple peer-reviewed pieces of study as well that any exposure to a gunshot without proper hearing protection and will lead to permanent and irreversible hearing damage whether that is through single shot exposure or through time. It is not a question if it will happen but to what extent,” Williams said.
Reyes said: “Over the years we have encountered significant numbers of people, particularly women, who have expressed a desire to learn the proper and safe use of firearms to help defend themselves and their families against possible attack. Unfortunately, apprehension caused by the loud noise or bang from the gunfire presents a major barrier … oftentimes resulting in these women not taking the next step.”
While the intent of the bill is to remove the restrictions on silencers and suppressors in Guam’s firearm laws, it will still be subject to the provisions of federal laws, rules, and regulations.
Suppressors are legal in 42 states and all but two of these states — Connecticut and Vermont — allow their use for hunting.