– By Tom Laurent
On November 14, 2017 the Rancho Tehama Elementary School shooting could have been a lot worse. An unstable man went on a shooting and killing spree that included shooting into classrooms at the Rancho Tehama elementary school, seriously injuring one student.
Quick action by the school staff getting the children into the buildings and locking down the school prevented the massacre. What allowed the school staff to react so swiftly was hearing gun shots that occurred approximately a quarter mile away. The staff instantly knew what caused the sound and reacted.
Imagine if the shooter had one of the gun silencers on his weapon that Congressman LaMalfa believes should be easier to buy. He was one of the first co-sponsors of House Bill 367, Hearing Protection Act of 2017, that wants to streamline the purchase of silencers to that of purchasing a firearm.
Most firearms produce two sounds when fired. One is the crack of the bullet caused by the bullet breaking the sound barrier. This sound is unaffected by suppressors (silencers) (politifact.org; Oct 4, 2017). Suppressors instead work on the muzzle blast, or the sound the gun barrel produces when it fires. Suppressors can reduce the sound by about 20-30 decibels, depending on the gun, ammunition, temperature and humidity (politifact.org; Oct 4, 2017).
Changing the sound of these gun shots could have prevented the school staff from reacting to the attack until the gunman was actually on campus and shooting at the students and staff.
LaMalfa’s support for the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 is an example of his not thinking about the consequences of his actions. What is his reason for supporting this bill? Current ear protectors such as foam plugs or more elaborate ear muffs covering the entire ear, suppress gunshot sounds by 25-31 decibels, which is the same sound reduction provided by gun suppressors. Existing ear protectors cost from 25 cents to $80. Gun suppressors cost from $500 to $2000 depending on the type of firearm. LaMalfa’s reasoning obviously isn’t about hearing protection. It’s about gun industry profits. The NRA and gun industry supports anything that relates to firearms and increasing profits. LaMalfa is their biggest supporter. He blindly supports the sale of anything related to firearms regardless of their potential consequences to human safety.
As our congressman LaMalfa is supposed to represent his constituents and do everything in his power to make sure his actions in Congress have positive affects for his constituents. Instead he chooses to be a congressman for the NRA and the gun industry. He chooses profits over constituent safety. Hopefully his constituents will remember his irresponsible action. I know I will.