I get the feeling that suppressors are about to get a little more illegal-er.
Last Friday, some skidmark decided to shoot up his workplace, and he did it using a suppressor. It’s only been a couple of days since, but already the anti-gunners are (pardon the pun) up in arms about the fact that it’s possible for law-abiding citizens to purchase one. It’s not exactly easy, of course: Despite the fact that the silencer designed by Hiram Maxim is nothing more than a sound-suppression device like a car’s muffler, American gun laws treat silencers as if they were actual, full-auto machine guns. And I suspect that there’s about to be a big push to outlaw them completely, just like the bump-stock ban. Here’s why.
First, any time there’s a mass shooting, the first thing that the gun banners do is try to figure out what the shooter used, and how they can leverage that information. If it was an AR-15, they’ll howl about “assault weapons.” If it was a handgun, they’ll scream about “high capacity ‘clips'” (because they have no idea how clips and magazines differ, of course). If the shooter used a five-shot, .22-caliber revolver, they’ll start a whole new gun-banning foundation and just do their best to ban them all. So the fact that the Virginia Beach skidmark used a suppressor has already got their tiny little pinheads spinning.
Consider, if you will, this steaming pile of hoplophobia, courtesy of Salon’s Amanda Marcotte:
Craddock likely purchased his silencer legally at one of the Virginia gun stores that sell the devices, but the heavy federal regulation of silencers has been successful in suppressing the popularity of this particular accessory. But the NRA, whose primary purpose is to boost sales for gun manufacturers, has been trying to change this, lobbying Congress and rolling out major marketing initiatives in hopes of gutting the 1934 law.
Notice something there? She acknowledges that silencers are already very heavily regulated, in much the same way that Marcotte and her anti-gun ilk would like to see all firearms regulated. But the following sentence is designed to stir up the righteous indignation of the (imagined) reader by claiming that the Hearing Protection Act is a current high-priority push for the NRA…and implying that the NRA is doing so as a direct response to the shooting. Neither is the case. The HPA has been dead in the water since the 2018 elections, when Democrats re-took the House of Representatives. The idea here is to conflate “silencer” with “NRA,” in hopes that anti-gunners will push to ban silencers just to stick it to the big, bad NRA.
And, not for nothing, Amanda, but do you know that the NRA is actually not the lobby for gun manufacturers? They’re the lobby for gun owners. The lobby for gun manufacturers is the National Shooting Sports Foundation. (Also, if you want to get a taste of power, I recommend sticking your tongue in an electrical socket.)
That’s all beside the point, of course. The point is right there in the second clause of the first sentence: “successful in suppressing the popularity of this particular accessory.” Marcotte, along with all the others, is fully aware that suppressors aren’t commonly owned in America…and that’s why they all figure that banning them completely will be as relatively easy as it was with bump stocks. Bump stocks were also considered something of a novelty, and they weren’t terribly popular. Which is, no doubt, part of the reason why President Trump felt that he wouldn’t get too much pushback if he banned them.
And, sadly, when it comes to suppressors, Trump has already stated he doesn’t “like them at all.” It’s entirely possible that he’ll get back on-message soon–he’s facing an election campaign soon, and gun owners tend to have very long memories indeed–but it doesn’t make for a feeling of confidence.
In closing, a bit of irony. In this one particular case, it seems that the U.S. could take a very handy lesson from European gun laws: In much of Europe, firearm owners are expected to purchase and use suppressors for their guns. It’s considered a vital health and safety concern, protecting the hearing of the user and being polite to the neighbors who live near shooting ranges. Why is it that this is the one piece of “common-sense gun control” that American gun haters reject outright?
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