Who here is afraid of being attacked by a shark while swimming in a freshwater lake in Mississippi? I freely admit that I am. The movie JAWS came out in 1975 when I was 9 years old. That film just struck a visceral chord. As a kid, I often spent weekends out at Desoto Lake, a big placid oxbow connected to the Mississippi River by a thin ribbon of water. After seeing JAWS I could no longer swim there.
Suppressor Bans, Sharks & Lightning
The reason was that, technically speaking, those enormous gosh-awful sharks could get from the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, around the Horn of Africa, across the Atlantic, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River, and into Desoto Lake without hailing an Uber or spontaneously sprouting legs. I actually fear sharks in freshwater lakes because, in that one single aspect of my life, I am a neurotic idiot.
Sensible people don’t fear sharks in freshwater lakes. Only crazy people do that. While that really is the only aspect of my life wherein I am a certifiable nutjob, apparently a substantial percentage of the Democratic members of Congress are comparably afflicted. I just saw their press release, and it made me dumber just reading it.
The Hallucinated Problem
They call it the HEAR Act. HEAR inexplicably stands for Help Empower Americans to Respond. Here’s the press release. The simple act of reading it will cost you half a dozen IQ points. I apologize in advance about that.
The gist is that Senator Bob Menendez and fifteen co-sponsors want to pass legislation that uses government money to “buyback” our legally-purchased sound suppressors. There are currently more than three million suppressors in the NFRTR (National Firearms Registry and Transfer Record). Senator Bob Menendez will graciously give us 90 days to sell our suppressors to Uncle Sam, after which we automatically become felons. This would all be fairly easy to enforce because back in 1934 “We the People” stupidly allowed the government to create a database of suppressor owners in the first place. There is naturally an exception carved out for agents of the government, because possessing a laminated government card somehow makes a person more morally laudable than a basic normal citizen.
Forget for a moment that you really cannot buy something back that never belonged to you in the first place. What might prompt sixteen presumably intelligent, duly-elected representatives of the people to go to all this trouble? Well, the press release addresses that as well. They cite five examples.
Smoking Guns, er, Suppressors?
In 2011 a man shot a coworker in Toledo, Ohio. Nobody noticed, so the cops “surmised” that he must have been using a sound suppressor. I Googled it–ballistics analysis failed to make a definitive connection to a suppressed weapon.
Two years later a deranged lunatic police officer in California used a suppressed firearm to kill three people. In 2017 the cops arrested some dude in Jacksonville, Florida, for “planning to shoot up” an Islamic center. He possessed an illegal suppressor sold to him by an undercover detective. I do love me some cops, but these are the same guys who are still allowed to possess suppressors per the proposed legislation.
In 2019, a disgruntled employee with a sound-suppressed .45-caliber pistol murdered a dozen people in a government building in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Lastly, in January of this year some psychopath in Monterey Park, California, used a homemade suppressor that was already illegal on an otherwise illegal M11/9 pistol to kill 11 innocent people at a dance hall. That guy was disarmed when an incredibly brave young man just snatched the gun out of his hands.
The point is that, in all these cases, the shooters were already egregiously violating the law. Only in the Virginia Beach case might the proposed legislation have had any even theoretical impact on the crime. So here we one verifiable criminal usage of a registered sound-suppressed weapon by a normal citizen in the past 12 years. What other theoretically preventable deaths have occurred in roughly the same timeframe?
It’s a Scary World…
During that same period we lost 5.7 million Americans to cigarettes along with another 1.68 million to alcohol. 2,167 people succumbed to constipation. 1,413 people died after having fallen out of trees. 951 people were killed by lawnmowers. In that same dozen years 338 Americans died from lightning strikes and more than 600 people were legit bitten by sharks. And we want to criminalize the ownership of three million legally-registered sound suppressors because of the actions of a single deranged criminal in Virginia?
Sound suppressors aren’t even weapons. You’d be more dangerous armed with a baseball bat. Anyone who has ever fired a sound-suppressed weapon will attest that actual silencers are not real. A sound suppressor just helps protect your hearing and makes you a more neighborly shooter. For goodness sake, you can purchase rimfire suppressors unrestricted and over the counter in France–arguably the least manly country in the world.
Don’t Take My Word For It…
Our job is to advocate for suppressors, so everything we say is going to be inherently biased. The good news is, you don’t have to take our word for it because the science and the facts are in. That’s why the experts from the CDC, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the National Hearing Conservation Association, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology all support the use of suppressors as a method to mitigate preventable hearing damage.
Do suppressors make guns silent? Absolutely not. In fact, suppressed gunshots are still loud enough that all four of the aforementioned independent (i.e. non-biased) organizations recommend using traditional hearing protection while shooting suppressed. It’s kind of like putting on a seatbelt even though your car has airbags – the more layers of protection, the safer you will be.
Which brings us to a serious unanswered question: if suppressed gunshots are still loud enough that, according to the experts, you should still wear hearing protection, how could they possibly be quiet enough to pose a threat to public safety?
The HEAR Act isn’t about safety; it’s about control. If Senator Menendez and his anti-gun colleagues took the time to listen to the experts, they would know that. But instead, they will continue to push their propaganda ad nauseam because their political dogma reads something like this: never let facts get in the way of a good story.American Suppressor Association
It would appear at least sixteen Democratic members of the US Congress are certifiably insane. If your holy crusade is outlawing sound suppressors in America, the third-most, well-behaved gun-related thing after machine guns and bipods, you clearly need some proper problems. Sound suppressors are not and never have been statistically significant contributors to crime in America. They should be sold out of vending machines in high school cafeterias for all the practical harm they create.
The elephant in the room is that these sixteen legislators seem incapable of grasping what happens when some of the owners of those more than three million registered sound suppressors choose not to sell their property to Uncle Sam. We’re on the cusp of figuring that out with pistol braces as I type these words. Are you going to send my BATF buddies to kick in their doors when people choose not to comply with your delusional new laws? Now which course of action actually results in the most harm?
And therein lies the rub. These people are not rational. They appear to be incapable of assessing the world around them and creating cogent policies. That would be fine were they simply flipping burgers someplace or institutionalized. However, they aren’t. These rocket surgeons are actually making the rules. So you’d best get out and vote. Otherwise we gun owners are going to wake up one day and will every one of us be felons.
Join the fight against suppressor bans at americansuppressorassociation.com.