Progress on Suppressors

Silencing is Not a CrimeThe Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuette, has issued an opinion that suppressors are legal in Michigan, provided that the NFA requirements are complied with. The demonization of silencers, or more accurately, suppressors, never made a whole lot of sense, especially when you consider noise complaints are the biggest issue shooting ranges face, especially places like around here, which have numerous suburban and exurban shooting ranges, with plenty of neighbors in earshot.

“We thank Attorney General Schuette for this well-reasoned opinion, which will allow Michigan residents to possess suppressors in compliance with federal law,” said Chuck Cunningham, NRA-ILA Director of State and Local Affairs.  “Noise suppressors are an effective means of reducing hearing loss among shooters, and we are pleased that shooters in Michigan, like those in 38 other states, will now have the freedom to choose these useful safety devices.”

When you put it that way, you’d almost think they were going mainstream, and you’d be right. I think suppressors may very well be the best shot we have at chipping away part of the National Firearms Act. A few years ago I didn’t think it would be possible, but now I think it might be.

12 thoughts on “Progress on Suppressors”

  1. …especially when you consider noise complaints are the biggest issue shooting ranges face…

    I’ve never been a great fan of this strategy for pushing suppressor deregulation. I expect a lot of conscientious allies would be as uncomfortable as I am, since this logic would seem to lead to the conclusion that, when yuppies move into a neighborhood with a range, the compromise that the gun lobby pushed for after all is to require that every gun fired at the range be required to have a suppressor. That would be a cheaper proposition in a nation with a free market in suppressors, but it still requires gunsmithing on most firearms and alterations to antiques, and puts revolver shooters in a bind.

    I think a much better strategy (and one that addresses a need most people can see more vividly than range litigation) is to educate people about the dangers of hearing loss from using unsuppressed firearms for self defense inside the home. I think most people can understand that concern, and most reasonable folks will agree that if you have a right to self defense, you shouldn’t be forced to risk your hearing to exercise it.

  2. Suppressors were one of the things J. Edgar Hoover called for when he asked Congress for what became the National Firearms Act of 1934. Other things were a ban on machine guns and handguns. Neither President Hoover nor Congress were interested in 1931.

    And then came Roosevelt. Who was interested in banning guns. Since Homer Cummings, Roosevelt’s AG, could not figure a way around the Second Amendment Congress did not ban machine guns and “silencers,” but taxed them instead. $200 1934 dollars is more than $3,500 in September 2011 microbucks, a stiff tax at the time.

    Congress flatly refused to regulate handguns, and the newspapers were on the Second Amendment’s side at the time. My, how things have changed.


  3. So, let me get you on the record: you think the time has come to push for some kind of silencer deregulation measure on the Federal level?

  4. I would say there are a few other priorities that take precidence over that, but I would say if the time is not ripe right now, it soon may be.

  5. The time is right.

    I know I have been pushing this for two decades but move suppressors to Title I with federal preemption.

    Missouri has won, Michigan has won, both involving the “forbidden third rail” of NFA. It is time.

  6. The “hearing safety in home defense” angle is what really interests me. In keep a set of electronic ears in my gun storage, but there may not be time for me to don them, and there is no way for me to put hearing protection on my cats, or on my impending child in an emergency situation. Let’s deregulate suppressors For The Children.

  7. Both cars and guns rely on internal combustion for their power and both benefit from noise control devices. A suppressor on a gun serves the identical function as a muffler on a car.
    Hundreds, if not thousands of pedestrians are killed every year because they didn’t hear the car coming on account of the muffler, yet mufflers are legally required on a car, such that it is generally against the law to not have one that works. The horrible nuisance of the noise from unmuffled car exhausts is such that the absence of such nerve-wracking noise has been judged to be preferable in our society to the occasional, unintentional deaths of pedestrians, even including children.
    Cars that can be operated almost silently also make for their more stealthy use by criminals, by allowing them to sneak up unheard on their victims, yet no one wants to ban mufflers because of the noise.
    The legitimate use of guns for target shooting is about as noisy as an unmuffled car, and can be disturbing to people a considerable distance away, yet suppressors remain generally illegal except for severe restrictions.
    Since many, many times fewer people are likely to be accidentally killed by being inadvertently shot due to the use of a suppressor on a gun, and most likely nearly none, it doesn’t make sense to prohibit suppressors for guns while requiring them for cars.
    As for the criminal use of suppressors, the gangbangers who so casually run around the streets shooting each other these days, which accounts for most of the shootings in the US, invariably use firearms with no suppressors, which demonstrates a complete lack of interest in them on the part of the criminals who actually commit the bulk of the murders in the US.
    In the past, Congress passed laws that now seem foolish. No military in the world now uses pistols with shoulder stocks, yet they were thought of as quite impressive back in the day. Short-barreled shotguns are excellent indoor defensive weapons, and are used by many police departments as indoor weapons, yet they are unfortunately still an NFA item not available to the average homeowner who needs a home defense weapon. That despite the ease, 30 seconds and a hacksaw, with which a criminal can fashion one and gain an advantage over a home owner stuck with a long-barreled and unwieldy duck gun. Full auto weapons are demonstrably less effective than a series of aimed shots from a semi-auto, yet new ones are completely illegal for the public to buy and such a gun carries a thirty-year prison sentence merely for possessing it, even despite it being unloaded, disassembled and rendered inoperable. Ridiculous.
    The misconceptions of the past have been disproven, yet thanks to the infinite semi-wisdom of the US Congress, those misconceptions are still law and are depriving Americans daily of their freedom both by their being law-abiding in their acceptance of these antiquated laws, and far worse, by actually sending them to prison for attempting to act like free Americans, despite the wrongful and oppressive burden of these obsolete laws.
    The antiquated NFA needs to go, but Congress, well, Congress is a stubborn, old mule of an institution and doesn’t flex well with the times. It’s up to the American people to change Congress, because our stubborn, old Congress cannot change itself.

  8. Full auto weapons are demonstrably less effective than a series of aimed shots from a semi-auto, yet new ones are completely illegal for the public to buy and such a gun carries a thirty-year prison sentence merely for possessing it, even despite it being unloaded, disassembled and rendered inoperable.

    I have never heard of anybody getting a thirty-year prison sentence merely for possessing a full auto weapon illegally. A certain “rap musician” known as T.I., aka Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., actually was busted by the feds in 2007 for attempting to illegally straw-purchase three full auto weapons and two silencers, but he only served about seven months in federal prison and about five months in a halfway house – his total sentence was just one year and one day altogether, plus about $100,000 in fines. This was pleaded down from a 10-year sentence and $250,000 in fines.

    As far as I am concerned, all of this should come as no surprise however, especially when you consider what I would refer to as the ultimate trifecta in American criminal defense cases – a wealthy black defendant, high-price defense attorneys, and a liberal sentencing judge.

  9. Thirty years is a sentencing enhancement. Use a machinegun, silencer, or destructive device in a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, and it’s an extra thirty years. Use a short barreled rifle, shotgun, or a semiautomatic assault weapon and it’s an extra ten years.

    The Supreme Court recently determined that it has to be proven at trial as a seperate charge, so you’ve got that going for you if you ever wind up in court.

Comments are closed.