America, in general, is a great place for libertarians. It is not perfect, of course, but to my knowledge, it is the only place on earth you can legally buy an ounce of weed and an AR 15 in the same day (although you may not want to publicly declare it since the weed is still federally regulated). In particular, our gun laws are some of the most permissive in the world, for better or worse, and we can own damn near anything we like. Our silencer laws, however, bite ass. For those that just woke up out of an extended coma or are learning English as a second language, silencers are long tubes you screw or clamp onto the muzzle of a gun which reduce the deafening boom accompanying a shot down to a more manageable level. They are also called suppressors or mufflers, the latter being probably the most accurate description since they function very much like the muffler of a car. They are primarily used for safety and comfort, since it is much nicer to not go deaf from your hobbies, and ear muffs can be uncomfortable and ineffective, along with other downsides. “Those sound like great inventions” you’re probably thinking. They are. Too bad they are damn near illegal here.
You see, about 80 years ago, a bunch of politicians decided to take their first really big shit on the second amendment, and boy did they deliver. It’s called the National Firearms Act. You may have heard me talk about it once or twice, and I promise I will mention it again in the future because you will never love a woman (or man, if that’s your bag) as much as I hate that piece of legislation. The NFA put a de facto ban on a whole bunch of fun, useful, and constitutionally protected items, including silencers. The silencer regulation was particularly painful because it affects all silencers, for all guns, for all reasons. There is absolutely no way you can own or possess one without going through the NFA. There’s no decibel threshold for what constitutes a silencer, either. If it reduces the sound signature of a firearm in any noticeable way, it is considered a silencer. You literally cannot legally make your gun quieter. I don’t think it’s difficult to grasp how infuriatingly asinine it is to prohibit an item that is dangerously loud from being made safer to use. What really puts the corn kernels in this shit sandwich is that, by itself, a silencer is completely harmless. They’re regulating ownership of an overpriced piece of sewer pipe. In terms of lethality, it’s somewhere above a metal spatula and below a large flashlight.
The thinking (and I use that word as loosely as possible) behind it is that criminals use silencers to muffle their murderous gunshots during crimes, thereby delaying or avoiding police intervention. Sounds reasonable, right? Except that it’s 100% horseshit. A silencer doesn’t actually silence anything, it simply reduces the sound of the gunshot down to hearing safe levels, and even with a silencer many guns still do require hearing protection. A silenced gun is still about as loud as a chainsaw or an ambulance siren. I don’t hear any morons in congress talking about making those louder for safety. Imagine if a law was introduced severely restricting mufflers on passenger vehicles in order to reduce collisions. It would be laughed right out of Congress, but change ‘cars’ to ‘guns’ and suddenly it’s common sense regulation!
To put this in perspective, a number of countries with significantly more restrictive firearm laws not only allow but encourage ownership and usage of silencers on firearms. Places like Norway, New Zealand, and Poland have essentially no restrictions at all on silencers, and even the gun hating utopia of the UK is relatively lax in their silencer ownership laws. When you’re doing worse than the UK at something gun related, you know you’ve got problems.
There is, however, some hope on the horizon. a few years ago some politicians got together and introduced the Hearing Protection Act, a name which puts a big trollish grin on my face every time I read it. The HPA would take silencers out of the purview of the NFA and treat them like a gun, requiring only a 4473 and a background check to purchase. It had fairly broad support in Congress, but never went anywhere because chocolate Jesus would have vetoed it on the spot. That all changed when Big Donny Sixgun came to town, though. With orange being the new black, the HPA has a real shot at getting passed. That shot got a little bit louder (or is it quieter?) recently when some clever fellow in Congress (oxymoron, I know) decided to roll all of the major provisions of the HPA into an otherwise boring little piece of paper called the ‘Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act’ or SHARE Act. I wonder how much they pay people to come up with names for these bills. Is that where greeting card writers go after they’re promoted? Anywho, the bill was scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, but some fucking dicknose bernie bro douche canoe had to go and put bullet holes in a couple of politicians that morning, and the hearing has been canceled until further notice. So, if that was your ultimate goal, you fuckstick, then mission accomplished. I am going to break my foot off in your ass when I see you in hell.