Suppressing the Truth About Suppressors

Suppressing the Truth About Suppressors
A visitor pulls the slide of a pistol with a silencer at a gun display at a National Rifle Association outdoor sports trade show in Harrisburg, Pa., on Feb. 10, 2017. (Dominick Reuter/AFP via Getty Images)
John Velleco

Big government leftists aren’t only trying to silence your voice on social media and through the Department of Homeland Security’s new Ministry of Truth, they’re also trying to silence your ability to simply possess a firearm suppressor.

Hollywood, the “besties” of the left, likes to make it seem as if a suppressor completely silences a firearm, as seen by clever TV assassins and action-movie stars. Last year, New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman backed this up, calling silencers “tools of murder.”
Sen. Bob Menendez (also from New Jersey) said, “Gun silencers are dangerous devices with one purpose and one purpose only—to muffle the sound of gunfire from unsuspecting victims.”
I’ll give you one guess as to which two Washington politicians have been watching a few too many Hollywood movies. Hint: they’re the same two who introduced legislation in 2021 to ban all Americans from simply possessing a gun suppressor. Not using one. Possessing one.
Gun suppressors (called “sound moderators” in the UK) only decrease the noise of a gunshot by 20 to 35 decibels. That leaves them still “louder than your average ambulance siren,” according to an article by the Associated Press posted by Police1. That organization is a part of the nation’s leading content, policy, and training platform for public safety. Their job isn’t to kiss babies and raise money; their job is to tell the truth when it comes to how guns work in the real world.
As much as the left would have you believe these devices are only used for Hollywood hitman-style murders, the truth is that the greatest use of silencers is for sporting professionals (pdf). Many shooting pros build private ranges in their basements and use silencers out of respect for their neighbors—literally the opposite of committing a crime.
Second to sporting, suppressors are used with small-caliber subsonic ammunition to rid local areas of disease-carrying vermin, like rats (pdf). Stopping disease from a distance is a good thing.
Fortunately, not all politicians believe big-action Hollywood movies are documentaries. Rep. Bob Good, from Virginia, looked to protect Americans from the suppressor-grab introduced by Menendez and Watson-Coleman. Good’s 2021 legislation sought a complete deregulation of gun suppressors at the federal level and it preempts state laws that would regulate, tax, or prohibit the possession of these devices.

“The Second Amendment is the guarantor or protector of all other rights,” Good told Breitbart News. “If our Second Amendment right is not safe, no rights are safe. Democrats continue to fear-monger and spread misinformation as a justification to undermine our constitutional rights. I’m pleased to introduce legislation that will remove regulatory burdens from purchasing accessories that protect hearing and promote safety.”

There are more than 60,000 legal federal gun-suppressor permits throughout the United States. If suppressors are so dangerous and used only as “tools of murder” then one would expect there to be a plethora of federal prosecutions for crimes committed with a firearm fitted with a suppressor. In reality, such federal prosecutions are rare occurrences (pdf), and the vast majority of those are not because a crime was committed but rather because someone hadn’t properly registered the suppressor. In other words, Menendez was flat-out lying about how they’re used.

It’s ridiculous to use Hollywood and fear to limit a person’s firearm use for competition, sport shooting, hunting, self-defense, teaching children about being responsible gun owners, or for any other constitutionally protected purpose. Don’t be fooled—bills like this do nothing to stop a criminal. They only serve to hurt your ability to use your firearm in a responsible manner.

A suppressor is not a firearm and is incapable of discharging any projectile, yet it’s regulated in the same manner as a machine gun. A firearms suppressor is a simple accessory, like a scope, holster, or any of the hundreds of other firearms accessories available, and ought to be available for purchase over the counter like any other lawful product.

Maybe President Joe Biden’s new Ministry of Truth should look at the Menendez and Watson-Coleman bill as their first order of business when rooting out misinformation. Somehow, I doubt they will.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
John Velleco is currently the executive vice president for Gun Owners of America, a grassroots lobbying organization with more than 2 million members and supporters nationwide.
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