November 1, 2009
Noise Free America
For immediate release
Albany: The National Rifle Association has won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for encouraging a very noisy pastime, and for working to defeat local noise ordinances seeking to restrict gun-related noise. Excessive noise from hunting causes hearing damage and neighbor disputes.
Dr. Amin Musani, an audiologist, states that “peak sound levels from rifles and shotguns can range from 132 decibels for small-caliber rifles to more than 172 decibels for high-poweredfirearms. Dangerous Decibels, a project of the Oregon Health and Sciences University, states that gunshots range between 140 and 190 decibels. Gun Control Australia says that “gunshots can cause a serious noise disturbance for up for 2 kilometers (1.2 miles)”.
According to Dr. Musani, “Americans collectively own more than 230 million guns.” He also notes that “shooting firearms is the most important source of excessive noise outside the workplace.”
Dr. Musani adds that gun noise is “America’s most serious non-occupational noise hazard,” with one shot equaling one week “of hazardous occupational noise exposure. An avid hunter can be exposed to an entire year’s worth of hazardous occupational noise in just a few minutes.” Impulse noises like gunfire, Musani states, “may result in immediate, severe, and permanent hearing loss.”
Gary Jones, a resident of rural Nebraska, comments that “the threat of gunshot noise causes me chronic anxiety. I am often not able to be outside my home and do basic daily activities without being harassed by loud, sudden, repeated noise. Gunshot noise can disturb the peace for well over a mile. It’s very disrespectful to repeatedly fire gunshots and other explosive devices (like firecrackers) within clearly audible distances of others who do not wish to hear it.”
Jones also commented that “gunshots are just one of the medium- and long-range bombers of noise pollution in rural Nebraska, including incredibly loud, unmuffled six-cylinder irrigation pumps; grain dryers that emit a constant, piercing tone that can be heard for miles; regular airplane traffic; tractor-trailers with jake brakes; and military fighter-jet/bomber noise. Rural Nebraska is truly the noise pollution that never ends.”
According to Jones, “The Nebraska state legislature, dominated by agricultural interests, does not allow Nebraska counties to institute noise ordinances. About the only legal recourse against noisy, disrespectful neighbors is to file a civil lawsuit, with attorneys demanding large fees up front.”
Mike Smith, an anti-noise activist in Pulaski, Virginia, used to be an avid member of the NRA. Not anymore: “Now, the NRA has become radical and joined the growing number of ‘merchants of cool.’ The NRA is now employing “loud sells” marketing strategies. The Violence Policy Center found that the primary purpose of the NRA’s ‘Eddie Eagle’ project is not to protect children, but to entice them into a noisy, dangerous hunting lifestyle.”
The Violence Policy Center notes that the NRA “has worked to pass state laws to hide shooting ranges from judicial scrutiny behind the skirts of state ‘range-protection’ laws.” In short, the NRA uses its special-interest muscle to inflict noise, pollution, and public health harm on the general public so that a dwindling minority of range users can enjoy their destructive “shooting sports.”
Noise Free America is a national 501c3 organization opposed to noise pollution. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include Echo Manufacturing, Governor Jesse Ventura, and the Massachusetts Department of Education.