Gun don’t kill. People using guns kill.
Having lost the immoral high ground in the endless US gun control debate, the rabidly anti-people National Rifle Association (NRA) is spinning a genuine health concern about hearing protection in order to promote silencers. Trump’s Number One Son, Donald Jr., is backing them.
Familiar from countless spy movies, a silencer or suppressor is the device attached to the barrel of a firearm which reduces the amount of noise and visible muzzle flash generated by firing. Typically, a silencer is a metal cylinder with internal mechanisms to reduce the sound of firing by slowing down the escaping propellant gas.
American inventor Hiram Percy Maxim, son of Maxim gun inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, is usually credited with inventing and selling the first commercially successful silencers around 1902. A patent was taken out on 30 March 1909. The first state law outlawing the sale or possession of silencers was in Maine, enacted in 1909. Pittsburgh moved against silencers that same year. The reason given by the police was that while the noise made by firing a weapon would immediately warn people of potential danger, the use of a silencer meant there was no warning.
Between 1909 and 1934, at least 13 states enacted silencer laws, with five of them specifically barring their use in hunting. North Carolina’s 1925 law, for example, barred “any gun” used for hunting “that does not produce when discharged the usual and ordinary report”. Maxim ceased manufacturing silencers in 1930 because of the widely held impression that they aided and abetted crime.
Clearly, gunfire can be seen as an important safety feature of a firearm. From potential victims who seek to escape a mass shooting to a hiker being alerted to the presence of a hunter in the woods, the sound warns others of lethal danger. Yet the NRA is insisting that there is a greater danger: hearing loss by gun owners!
The NRA is using arguments from public health concerns about damaging noise levels to advocate a Hearing Protection Act. The bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) eliminate the $200 transfer tax on firearm silencers, and (2) treat any person who acquires or possesses a firearm silencer as meeting any registration or licensing requirements of the National Firearms Act with respect to such silencer. The effect of the Bill will be to remove federal registration and identification requirements for those seeking gun silencers.
Trump Jr. has leapt on what he sees as a popular bandwagon to give his blessing to the move. While the purchase of a silencer is legal in all but eight states, the NRA supported by Trump Jr. are trying to sweep aside vital background checks and record-keeping requirements such as photo identification and fingerprinting.
The NRA has an aggressive policy of bitterly contesting moves to control gun sales and their use in the USA. In 2016 it spent $2,530,000 on gun lobbying and every year for the past seven years it has spent more than $2.4 million.
The NRA’s aim is to eviscerate gun controls. Now, it is cynically boosting the sale of silencers. Why? Because most existing guns do not have the threaded barrels necessary to attach them – so people will have to buy new guns.
Trump Jr. is helping to make America great again by putting the family name on a silent way of killing people.