Shooter’s bid for sound of silence

AN Albury shooter believes a ban on gun silencers is an occupational health and safety issue because firing a gun causes hearing loss.

Nathan Ruby has a 2 per cent hearing deficiency in his left ear which he puts down to the lack of access to silencers.

“I want to keep my hearing as anyone does in their work place,” he said.

The National Firearms Agreement prohibits what are termed gun silencers, but Mr Ruby is encouraging people to refer to them as gun suppressors.

“The word silencer is wrong because it doesn’t silence the sound of the shot at all,” he said.

Mr Ruby said the shot of a rifle would read between 140 and 175 decibels in an open area, but with a suppressor it would be reduced to between 80 and 125 decibels.

He said suppressors would also prevent wild animal attacks because wearing ear muffs masked the sounds around them.

“Hearing protection when we are out hunting is a danger to ourselves,” he said.

“Wild animals like to charge and attack so then you’re stuck in a bush injured virtually in the middle of nowhere because you couldn’t hear what was going on around you.”

Gun Control Australia spokesman Roland Browne disagreed, saying the silencers were prohibited because they could conceal the sound of a gun.

“They are the choice for criminals and we have absolutely no need for them,” he said.

“If people using guns want to protect their hearing I say they use the same protection as people on building sites.”

Mr Browne said gun silencers would possibly increase the number of street and drive-by shootings.

“Silencers have to be banned,” he said.

“The idea is to ensure people don’t have a stealth advantage when they have a gun.”

Member for Benambra Bill Tilley agreed there was no such thing as a silencer.

“If there was a way to appropriately apply suppression to noise I would be interested in doing more research,” he said.

“The very problem we have is getting people who don’t shoot to understand the workings of properly operated firearms.

“I am very keen to discuss the issues with shooters and take it on for some consideration and look at other jurisdictions around the world and see if we can apply it to our country.”

Mr Tilley’s own hearing is slightly diminished after years as a soldier and a keen shooter.

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