The change to the suppressor laws is coming up in the Washington State Legislature again. Those of you in Washington State, be sure to write your Representatives. Here’s a sample copy of what I wrote.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing you today in regards to HB 1016 – 2011-12, which will change the restrictions regarding firearm noise suppressors.
Currently within the State of Washington suppressors are outlawed from use. I can own them and I can even attach them to my weapon, however the act of discharging causes me to be guilty of committing a gross misdemeanor. To further illustrate how helpless this law is I can drive 5 miles, by road, and be perfectly legal to discharge as I am now in the state of Idaho.
The irrationality of the law in general aside, the central item in question is a safety device. Why is a safety device outlawed from use by the residents of our state? When hunting I must choose between situational awareness and permanent hearing loss. Why must I make this decision, why must I for the safety of those around me suffer permanent hearing damage at the direction of the state? Wearing hearing protection while hunting is unsafe as it limits your ability to hear, including others in the area that you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Not only must I suffer hearing damage but people in the surrounding areas who are not partaking in the sport are also subjected to the possibility of hearing damage due the discharge of a firearm. Another example is a pregnant woman who must use a firearm for self-defense, the resulting pressure wave from the shot can do untold damage to the fetus. Yet a simple suppressor could protect the fetus from the shot the mother fired to protect them both.
This law as currently written also applies to law enforcement, including wildlife management. There is no exemption for Section 1: C for law enforcement. This means that when using a suppressor currently our law enforcement is committing a gross misdemeanor. However, law enforcement is allowed to violate this law at their convenience; why do they get an unlawful exemption while law abiding citizens are punished by the government under the guise of “protecting them”?
Changing the suppressor laws would increase not just the health of those in our state involved in the shooting sports as well as those who have firearms within their house for defense, but also create extra revenue in the form of additional sales tax. Many shooters would gladly purchase suppressors for use; however, we do not because of this asinine law. Suppressors are not like you see in the movies, you can still hear it, but it depresses the sound to the point where hearing damage will be less likely to occur. Please, for the health of the shooters in our state, support HB 1016-2011-12.
Barron E. Barnett
Please do your part, it’s time the stupid law is changed.