Time has an interesting story on how most Americans think their views on guns are the majority view, even when they are not. This has been a consistent issue since I started writing about gun politics a decade ago. You see it all the time in people who whine about the Hughes Amendment (the 1986 machine gun ban), or various other this and thats we can’t change because it’s beyond our political power. For years I had to explain that the NFA was untouchable because the fact was that a majority of Americans (and I would argue gun owners) did not agree with us, and more importantly neither did a majority of lawmakers. There was no easy way to convince lawmakers that voting to repeal the NFA was in their political interests, and if we wanted to change that, we had to work on the people, not the politicians.
Now a decade later, I think getting suppressors/silencers delisted from the NFA may be within reach if we have a few favorable elections, and the Dems start falling apart the same way the Republicans are falling apart. The reason for that is we have very compelling arguments, both in terms of being kind to neighbors’ ears and also to our own. The arguments we can use for suppressors are easily understandable to people who don’t shoot. They are almost definitely understandable to anyone living near a shooting range in a suburban area, of which I can point to several examples near where I live. It might be possible for gun ranges to mandate suppressor use if they were deregulated. Right now that’s completely unrealistic, because your average shooter isn’t going to bother with all the regulatory compliance involved.
The article speaks of the “false consensus effect.”:
In a less formal sense, the â€œfalse consensus effectâ€ was on display at the political conventions, where both parties presented their views on the virtues or dangers of owning a firearm as representing the common-sense attitude of most Americans. Republican nominee Donald J. Trump declared that he would â€œprotect the right of all Americans to keep their families safe,â€ while Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy took the stage at the Democratic Convention to declare that â€œthe gun lobby fights to keep open glaring loopholes that 90 percent of Americans want closed.â€
This is why it’s important to be open with people about what you spend your weekends doing. The false consensus effect can either be our friend or our enemy. Which way that goes depends on us being good ambassadors.