Local News

Suppressors: Do they make guns more dangerous?

SPOKANE, Wash. - Since the shooting in Las Vegas, many have criticized Congress over a Bill to eliminate restrictions on gun suppressors. Some claim they make it more difficult for police to locate a shooter - but gun experts say that's not the case, and not the motivation behind the bill.

The sound of gunfire was the first indication that something was wrong at that concert in Las Vegas - and those sounds helped lead police to the shooter.

Hours after the attack, Hillary Clinton tweeted, "The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get."

But would those devices - debated in congress - actually make a difference? To answer that question, we went to the range with Spokane police to learn more about suppressors - commonly referred to as silencers. Law enforcement told us there are many misconceptions about suppressors, thanks to Hollywood films which exaggerate their effectiveness.

Law enforcement officers say suppressors don't make guns any more dangerous. If anything, they argue, it makes them safer.

Lieutenant Rob Boothe explained that even with a suppressor, there will still be a report (or sound) of a gunshot. Suppressors don't silence a weapon - but they do capture pressure, limiting the effects of hearing loss to people near the weapon.

"I can tell you from my personal experience, I've suffered hearing loss," said Major Kevin King with Spokane Police. "I have to wear hearing aids now, I also have tinnitus."

King was responding to a threat, and was standing near a weapon when an officer fired at a suspect. Had the rifle been equipped with a suppressor, the hearing damage wouldn't have occurred.

Spokane Police plan to equip all of their M & P rifles, which officers carry in their patrol cars, with suppressors.