Just yesterday, I was in the woods, teaching a relative of mine how to shoot a gun. I was so wrapped-up in instructing her on her stance and technique that at one point, I forgot to place my hearing protection on my ears. They were slung around my neck.
Suddenly, the sound of a .45 cracked and the familiar ring began in my ears. It was a bonehead thing to let happen but, let’s face it, it’s not the worst accident that could happen when firing weapons.
Still, the thought occurred to me: “When will Americans finally be able to suppress their firearms without the considerable hurdles that currently prevent it?”
The National Firearms Act (NFA) is terribly flawed and remarkably outdated. First enacted in 1934, it serves as a reactionary reminder that for too long, emotion has trumped reason in the so-called “gun debate.”
The NFA is riddled with moronic provisions. A 12-inch rifle barrel is still verboten, but a 12-inch pistol with an armgrip is legal. Fully-automatic weapons are very difficult to obtain and costly to transfer, but there are ways around that, too. Want a sawed-off shotgun? Too bad. Want a short-barreled shotgun? That’ll be a $5 tax stamp and a hefty waiting period.
It makes no sense and far from being a legitimate deterrent to crime it is, in reality (and pardon my French) merely a pain in the ass for the law-abiding.
That’s why it’s time to begin chipping-away at the act of oppression like Berliners with the wall.
First up: suppressors- or “silencers,” if one prefers.
I get it: the point is to keep “bad guys” from shooting-up a bank undetected. However, suppressors do not make a firearm silent (as the movies would suggest). They do, however, greatly reduce the sound and noise pollution created by a firearm. The thunderous crack of a gun rings throughout the mountains when my friends and I go shooting and I have often wondered how the people who live nearby feel about the constant cacophony of gunfire affects their sense of harmony.
As a society, we mandate it that motor vehicles have mufflers to stop noise pollution and the hearing damage caused by the millions of internal combustion engines so prevalent in our society. This important technology was invented by a man named Hiram Percy Maxim.
At the same time Maxim developed the now ubiquitous car muffler, he developed a gun muffler using the same technology, for the same reason. Originally, both devices were called silencers (and in parts of the world, automobile noise reduction devices are still called silencers).
While it may not be practical to retrofit many existing firearms with suppressors, we need to amend federal gun laws to encourage the development of integrally suppressed handguns like the Maxim 9, carbines like the Daniel Defense ISR, and others.
Let’s pull silencers completely out of the National Firearms Act, and encourage more companies to develop integrally suppressed firearms at a cost we can all afford, without the roadblocks of federal registration, long waiting periods for paperwork to process, a punitive $200 tax stamp, and harsh criminal penalties that are currently an obstacle to better hearing and environmental noise reduction.
Many are joining an effort called “Fight the Noise” and this campaign calls for a loosening of restrictions on suppressors. Currently, manufacturers are developing and releasing for sale firearms that are integrally-suppressed, which means that the suppressor is built-into the firearm.
Of course, this is a fantastic idea, but the firearm is then not only subject to the draconian and unconstitutional burdens of a background check for the purchaser, but also a hefty $200 transfer fee and a lengthy backlog on the application.
Because nothing says “shall not be infringed” like applying for permission and waiting six months to obtain government permission to receive a firearm…