U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– The Democrat Governor of Guam, Lourdes (Lou) Aflague Leon Guerrero, vetoed legislative bill 73-36, the “Hearing Protection Act” on December 22, 2021. The bill had passed the Senate by a narrow margin on December 15. With only 13 Senators present, the bill passed on a 7 to 6 bipartisan vote. From the americansuppresorassociation.com:
Of the 15 member legislature, 13 lawmakers were present for the vote. With Vice Speaker Barnes and Sen. Terlaje absent and excused, only 7 votes were needed for passage. That threshold was met when Senators Tony Ada, Frank Blas Jr., Christopher M. Dueñas, James Moylan, Clynton Ridgell, Telo Taitague, and Mary Torres all voted in favor of the bill.
Speaker Therese Terlaje and Senators Joanne Brown, Sabina Perez, Joe San Agustin, and Amanda Shelton voted against the Hearing Protection Act.
Governor Guerrero was elected with 50.7% of the vote in 2018, is up for re-election in 2022. She is the first female governor of Guam. There are about 56,000 registered voters in Guam, out of a population of 169,000. Governor Guerrero received over 18,000 votes.
In her explanatory letter, she gives this reason for the veto:
The very reason proponents of the bill advocate for lifting of the restrictions is the reason the restriction must remain in place – while they do not eliminate it, suppressors and silencers, by design, substantially suppress the sound of gunfire, which is one of the most easily recognizable warnings that a gun has been fired in a person’s vicinity, lawfully or unlawfully, and enables that person to get to safety.
Supporters of the bill noted that suppressors are seldom used in a crime, are legal in 42 states, and aid significantly in reducing the damage to hearing from gunfire. From the bill:
I Liheslatura further finds that suppressors are legal in 42 states and all but two of these states (Connecticut and Vermont) allow their use for hunting. There are three main reasons people own suppressors and silencers: reduction of noise pollution, hearing protection, and safety training. Suppressors reduce noise by about as much as earmuffs do. No one would ever suggest that a suppressor is an acceptable replacement for muffs, but suppressors are a very good supplement to reduce the sound the reaches the inner ear. Using a combination of a suppressor, earmuffs,and ear plugs can reduce the perceived sound to around 100to 125decibels, the same as a power lawn mower to a jackhammer.
Guam has strict controls on the ownership of firearms. It has shall issue carry legislation which was passed in 2014.
In 2016, Guam passed a bill reforming the Shall Issue law to expand eligibility from US citizens to all legal residents of Guam. Restricting eligibility to US citizens was likely to be challenged in court.
Five of the nine elected governors of Guam have been Republicans. It seems likely the Hearing Protection Act could pass with the election of a Republican governor.
Governors in Guam are term-limited after two terms. Two Democrats and two Republicans have lost election bids for a second term.
Senator Tony Ada has been a major proponent of Second Amendment rights in Guam.
Firearm ownership is becoming increasingly popular on Guam, as it is in the United States. Once the shall issue legislation was passed in 2014, the number of people buying guns on Guam approximately doubled.
Guam is a popular destination for gun tourism from Japan.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.