Salon’s Alexander Zaitchik has just uncovered the latest NRA infamnia: promotion of the silencer business. Seriously! “Under the trade banner of the American Silencer Association, manufacturers have come together with the support of the NRA to rebrand the silencer as a safety device belonging in every all-American gun closet.” Closet? Nevermind. So what’s the problem with an accessory that could save the hearing of thousands of shooters (and make shooting range neighbors a lot happier)? Seems Zaitchik’s been watching a few too many Homeland episodes. “The history of the silencer is a twentieth century tale populated by Mafiosi hits, hidden snipers, and special ops ambush teams.” Oh noes! Worse still . . .
Wide use of suppressors would mean more Sandy Hooks, too!
By muffling the noise generated with every shot by sonic booms and gas release, a silencer would provide a new degree of intimacy for public mass murder, delaying by crucial seconds or minutes the moment when someone calls the police after overhearing strange bangs coming from Theater 4 or Classroom D. The same qualities that make silencers the accessory of choice for targeted assassination offer advantages to the armed psychopath set on indiscriminate mass murder.
But wait, there’s still more. Silencers are kinda like weed. They’re a gateway accessory. If you use them enough, they’ll only lead to legalization of some of the really scary stuff.
If the current campaign succeeds in delisting silencers from NFA regulation, the gun lobby likely won’t wait long before targeting the remaining regulatory regimes limiting the circulation of fully automatic machine guns and even hand grenades. Do not be surprised when you see a 2014 Gun World feature extolling freshwater blast fishing as a great way to connect kids and nature, while reducing the risks of fishing with sharp steel hooks, some of which have dangerous double jags. If you can’t see the safety rationale here, or the Freedom Logic that undergirds it, then you obviously do not care about America’s children and their millions of young tender fingers.
What, no Claymores or cruise missiles, Alexander? Come on, use your imagination, man. I’m actually holding out for a mortar since I can’t quite reach out and touch the far side of the next subdivision over with our current potato gun. Maybe I need to try a different brand of hair spray.