“The federal government has strictly limited the sale of firearm silencers for as long as James Bond and big-screen gangsters have used them to discreetly shoot enemies between the eyes.” Longer actually. Anyway, that’s The Washington Post’s opening salvo against The Hearing Protection Act, which would remove suppressors from NFA bureaucracy.
The article — headlined by Donald Trump Jr.’s support for the Act, of course — calms down to present both sides of the “argument” on the HPA. As you might imagine, the anti side is really stupid.
Violence prevention advocates are outraged that the industry is trying to ease silencer restrictions by linking the issue to the eardrums of gun owners. They argue the legislation will make it easier for criminals and potential mass shooters to obtain devices to conceal attacks.
“They want the general public to think it’s about hearing aids or something,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center. “It’s both a silly and smart way to do it, I guess. But when the general public finds out what’s really happening, there will be outrage.”
“Violence prevention advocates”? How does keeping it difficult and expensive to buy a suppressor prevent violence? And aren’t bodies hitting the floor enough of an indication of a mass shooter’s attack? What’s “really happening” here?
Gun-control activists say silencers are getting quieter, particularly in combination with subsonic ammunition, which is less lethal but still damaging.
They point to videos on YouTube in which silencers make high-powered rifles have “no more sound than a pellet gun,” according to one demonstrator showing off a silenced semi automatic .22LR (posted above) . . .
Gun-control advocates contend that serious crimes are being committed with silencers on guns. Former police officer Christopher Dorner used silencers on an AR-15 and a 9mm handgun during two-day rampage in Los Angeles in 2013.
A serial killer in Vermont used a silencer in the killing of at least one of his 11 victims.
And the planner of a disrupted mass shooting targeting a Masonic temple in Milwaukee last year was charged with possessing a silencer, in addition to other weapons charges.
“They wanted these things so they could kill quietly,” said Rand, of the Violence Policy Center. “The industry wants to make silencers less scary, but they can’t.”
Silencers are scary. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got, really. The fact that a statistically insignificant number of criminals have used suppressors is only relevant — wait. It’s not relevant. Especially considering how easy it is to cobble together a homemade suppressor and the benefits of “easy access” to suppressors for tens of millions of law-abiding Americans.
Perhaps the antis are aware that suppressors make firearms way more desirable. That they’re a kinder gentler gateway to guns for newbies. Which would mean more gun owners! Which would mean less support for gun control.
Whether they act out of ignorance or a fanatical devotion to disarmament for all, antis remind me of Monty Python’s sketch “Nobody Expects the Spanish inquisition.” Will fear, surprise and ruthless media manipulation be enough to stop the HPA? Watch this space.