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Old April 4, 2014, 11:53 AM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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Selling the Anti-Gun People on Silencer Deregulation

One thing I notice when reading the latest VPC or Brady spew is that they are convinced that the only reason certain firearms sales exist is because of firearms manufacturers ad campaigns. As they see it, we are all too dimwitted not to buy whatever new deadly creation firearms manufacturers devise and that without this, we would all still be content with our musket.

It strikes me, that much of that mindset can support a rational base for deregulating silencers. After all, there is a huge untapped demand for them that increases every year despite the paperwork burden and stamp cost. And silencers have many benefits to the public at large - they reduce the hearing damage to shooters as well as making such shooting less obnoxious to the public.

From an anti- perspective, there are only two basic objections to silencers. The first objection is simply a "there is no reason for guns to exist therefore no reason to deregulate any aspect of their use". Naturally, we aren't going to win over that segment.

The second reason is the "silencers are tools of assassins/poachers" argument. However, let us look at the "gold standard" of suppressors - an MP5SD or .300 BLK firing subsonic rounds is around 126db. For comparison, according to OSHA, a jackhammer operating 15m away is between 90-100db. Short of a Hollywood film, silencers are anything but silent. Even if you could totally silence the report and flight of a bullet, 40gr at 1000fps tends to make a bit of noise when it hits something. This argument can be defeated with a patient application of science and videos demonstrating the actual effect.

So what would antis gain? Well, to their minds, the markets for firearms is driven almost entirely by the needs of firearms manufacturers to develop new market niches that add more and more firearms to an already overflowing market. By deregulating suppressors, they open up an entirely new niche for firearms manufactuers where the firearms manufactuers can profit without introducing a single new actual firearm into the marketplace. Assuming that the arguments they use are based in their true feelings and not simply an "ends justify the means argument", it would follow that the anti-gun crowd would benefit from deregulating silencers.

This has been a thought at the back of my mind for some time. I thought I would throw it out here to see it either fleshed out better or its terminal flaws pointed out.
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Old April 4, 2014, 12:27 PM   #2
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I think that the way we go about buying suppressors and Short barreled stuff is outdated

I dont think we will ever do away with the tax but the wait times are outrageous. Today with the Insta-check capabilities for gun purchases, there is no reason to wait 5-12 MONTHS to pick up a can or SBR

You should be able to go into a dealer. Fill out a Form 4 and a 4473. Pay the price of the item plus your $200tax. Efile the form 4 and VOLLIA... Walk out the door just like you buy a firearm
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Old April 4, 2014, 12:27 PM   #3
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I submit for your consideration that since the antis so love to use Europe as a bellwether for their arguments that we take a page from their book and use it.

Look at the number of countries there that either do not regulate or minimally regulate the use of suppressors aka moderators (also from their book the use of terminology). Also look at and use the point that in many places it is considered "polite" to use suppressors / moderators while hunting so as to minimize the rapport to the neighborhood at large. Then we can call into play the benefits in the health arena vis a vis hearing damage.

And since they like to use the drivers licensing arguments: Cars have mufflers, so should guns.
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Old April 4, 2014, 01:18 PM   #4
carguychris
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Quote:
...to their minds, the markets for firearms is driven almost entirely by the needs of firearms manufacturers to develop new market niches that add more and more firearms to an already overflowing market. By deregulating suppressors, they open up an entirely new niche for firearms manufactuers where the firearms manufactuers can profit without introducing a single new actual firearm into the marketplace.
I don't think the fundamental premise behind your idea is valid. Your idea presumes that the anti-gunmaker argument is based on logic and reason, and I don't believe this is the case.

IMHO the idea that the firearms industry is somehow artificially creating demand for firearms is an convoluted example of dog-whistle politics. The underlying assumption is that those who own firearms are weak-minded and readily manipulated "others", unlike the presumably smart and morally upstanding people who don't own firearms; thus, the views of gun owners lack validity, so it's OK to preemptively dismiss them.

It's fundamentally a way for true believers to deride gun owners without resorting to direct name-calling.

The people who believe this argument aren't going to be swayed by the fact that the gunmakers might switch from firearms to firearm accessories. They'd prefer that the gunmakers switch to making, say, appliances or auto parts.
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Old April 4, 2014, 01:53 PM   #5
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More money is more money

I understand you to say that antis should support suppressors because it will open up a sales channel to firearms manufacturers that wouldn't involve proliferating more guns.

I think there are some unsafe assumptions behind this as follows:

1) creating a new profit center for the evil manufacturers is not going to be tasteful to antis. It gives the evil manufacturers more capital to build out production capacity, or spend on advertising for guns, lobbying to fight more regulation, etc.

2) I've got a hunch that most of you, like me, enjoy buying products in this space, and will live on top ramen for a couple days and drive 2mph slower to save gas money if it means not making a trade-off between buying a gun and a suppressor. It's the magic of 'and' vs. the tyranny of 'or'.

3) suppressors probably encourage gun sales for the manufacturers. Again, probably not a zero-sum, inelastic game.

I know you know all this, I just don't think the antis are dumb enough to not realize this. Wait, yes I do - I think a lot of the antis really pee their pants thinking a silencer, when attached to a high-capacity clip - OR A FOLDING STOCK - makes a shot whisper-quiet. But I do think the more manipulative Napoleons (aminal farm reference) in the anti movement are smart enough to realize there's no benefit in taking away existing regulation, creating a new revenue stream for gun manufacturers, and making shooting more 'accessible' and less invasive for the public.

Deprecating use of the term 'silencer' through education, demonstrable science and experience is probably the best thing to do. "Assault rifle" and "silencer" are products of a war of words, trying to instill fear in the population and convince us that only statism keeps us safe at night.
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Old April 4, 2014, 02:14 PM   #6
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I don't think the fundamental premise behind your idea is valid. Your idea presumes that the anti-gunmaker argument is based on logic and reason, and I don't believe this is the case.
+1.

Their arguments basicly boil down to "Guns are EEEEEEEvil".

You can't reason with a person using an emotionally based argument.
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Old April 4, 2014, 02:38 PM   #7
carguychris
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In addition...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew Roberts
The second reason is the "silencers are tools of assassins/poachers" argument.
IMHO it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to overcome this perception among the general public.

The other issue is that any attempt to amend the NFA, by definition, shines a spotlight on the NFA. Do we want the $200 tax raised? Do we want additional items covered by the law? Propose amending the law, and you must prepare for both.
Quote:
However, let us look at the "gold standard" of suppressors - an MP5SD or .300 BLK firing subsonic rounds is around 126db. For comparison, according to OSHA, a jackhammer operating 15m away is between 90-100db. Short of a Hollywood film, silencers are anything but silent. Even if you could totally silence the report and flight of a bullet, 40gr at 1000fps tends to make a bit of noise when it hits something. This argument can be defeated with a patient application of science and videos demonstrating the actual effect.
This is the sort of argument that could be productive in the COURTS. IMHO this is where the NFA restrictions on suppressors are most vulnerable, as it's readily demonstrable that suppressors are (a) useful to the military and (b) readily adaptable to legitimate sporting purposes, and there's virtually no evidence that deregulating them would increase or worsen crime.
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Last edited by carguychris; April 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM. Reason: typo
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Old April 4, 2014, 02:53 PM   #8
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Add my +1 to the "you can't use logic with irrational people" column

Imo, we'll eventually get suppressor de-regulation via the courts, or mayyyybe from the "safety" angle (promoting fewer hearing-related health issues), but however it is gained, it will be over the objections of the antis.
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Old April 4, 2014, 03:08 PM   #9
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
You can't reason with a person using an emotionally based argument.
True. Though you can use reason and fact to demonstrate to others the irrational nature of their argument. The next time someone trots out that particular line of argument, instead of spending a great deal of time trying to disprove it factualy, you can assume arguendo that the cause and effect is as they state it and advance a decent argument for deregulating silencers. It might not sway them; but it will force their audience (and possibly themselves) to acknowledge that the argument isn't founded in reason.

I think with so many astroturf groups pretending to be "middle-ground" though, you might be able to sell it. Of course, that depends on the fundamental premise that they believe what they say about firearms manufacturers in their own publications. If it turns out they don't believe that at all, then the proposition clarifies their actual belief (at least to those of us who don't already hold firm opinions that way) but is unlikely to work.
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Old April 4, 2014, 04:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
or mayyyybe from the "safety" angle (promoting fewer hearing-related health issues),
Don't count on the dedicated Antis having any sympathy for gun users: they will endeavor to paint gun use as causing deafness, lead poisoning, cancer, STD's and obesity, if at all possible. Any efforts at mitigating any of the risks will be attacked as "treating the symptom, and not the disease".

I do not doubt the others side wishes us ill ..... theirs is a Crusade, and we are Infidels..... and I despise them in turn.
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Old April 4, 2014, 04:54 PM   #11
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Bart, it's a novel theory, but the anti's will never approve of something that makes it easier to own firearms.

As it is, demonizing silencers is easy for them. Furthermore, any reform of the NFA laws brings up machine guns, which they need for rhetorical ammo.
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Old April 4, 2014, 07:08 PM   #12
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First step is to legalize use for hunting in most states. That will provide a "sporting use." Hearing protection and reducing noise pollution. Once that is accepted legally the road forward is clear.
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Old April 5, 2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
First step is to legalize use for hunting in most states. That will provide a "sporting use." Hearing protection and reducing noise pollution. Once that is accepted legally the road forward is clear.
Very good point.
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Old April 5, 2014, 11:48 AM   #14
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I am not sure why moderators are an issue in America, they are easy to get here for rifles and some shotguns not handguns.
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Old April 5, 2014, 11:51 AM   #15
JD0x0
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Suppressors/Silencers make your weapon safer, especially at night, which is when many SD situations occur. Suppressors reduce muzzle rise, sound, and muzzle flash allowing the operator to use the gun in a more safe controlled manner.

And really... How many crimes are committed with (illegal) suppressors? I mean sure, you might have some dumbo try to make one out of a potato or soda bottle, but even then, that doesn't happen often.

I think no matter what we say, this will be the anti's response.
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Old April 5, 2014, 12:19 PM   #16
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I am not sure why moderators are an issue in America, they are easy to get here for rifles and some shotguns not handguns.
Silencers have been anathema since the 1930s. The purpose of government regulation was actually two-fold: The popular excuse was the use of certain weapons, machine guns, silencers etc. by Prohibition-era gangsters in their dealings. (Many Congessmen tacitly associated the "gangsters" with Italians, who, like the Irish, were considered "undesirables" at the time.)

The unspoken excuse was that, during the 1930's, when this country was in the throes of the Great Depression, an overthrow of the government became as close a possibility as it has ever been in the history of this country.

I never realized this until I found out not too many years ago that a Communist (or possible Socialist) takeover was very possible at that time, as the Communist Party had a great following during the Depression.

At that time, to allow unregulated possession of automatic weapons, silencers, etc., would have given the general population almost as much firepower as our U.S. Army, barring what our military had in the way of artillery and aircraft. Roosevelt and Congress did not much savor the idea of a second civil war here.

Since then, technology for military use has far outstripped what was available in the 30s, and our government, much like your own, has slowly, but surely increased its stranglehold on the public.

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Old April 5, 2014, 12:31 PM   #17
carguychris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062
First step is to legalize use for hunting in most states. That will provide a "sporting use." Hearing protection and reducing noise pollution. Once that is accepted legally the road forward is clear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armorer-at-Law
Very good point.
+2. In fact, I can think of a promising state-level concept that could pave the way for deregulation: Establish special suppressed rifle hunting seasons, and/or allow suppressed rifle hunting during archery season. They could even be limited to bolt-action, lever-action, and single-shot rifles to make them more "Fudd friendly".

This would:
  1. Establish a legitimate sporting purpose
  2. Create a more positive public image for suppressors, particularly for eliminating destructive or potentially dangerous species near heavily populated areas, without the obnoxious and alarming noise
  3. Show that they have zero demonstrable effect on crime
  4. Likely set the groundwork for NFA-deregulating lawsuits and/or quiet legislative liberalization, once some "Fudds" in tweed caps discover that they want suppressors, but either (a) can't get them before the season opens due to the long processing time, or (b) can't get them at all because Joe or Jill Left-Wing Big-City Police Chief won't sign the applications
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Old April 5, 2014, 01:57 PM   #18
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If the great minds in Washington would stop at just eliminating restrictions I would be all for it. I would like to have the option to have a silenced firearm if I wanted one. My fear is they would make silencers mandatory. Then the next step would be to only allow firearms that operate below a db level. I am sure the anti's would like to start us down that slope.

My 2 cents.
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Old April 5, 2014, 03:15 PM   #19
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I think a good way to promote silencer use to the general public is to show how they can benefit from the lower noise pollution. How many outdoor ranges around the country are within hearing distance of residential neighborhoods? A lot of those ranges are constantly under the threat of shutdown from angry neighbors who can't stand the noise. And many people in rural areas get sick of hearing their neighbors target shooting, but they've also discovered that the cops usually can't do anything about it.

I think another good strategy is for us "stamp collectors" to let as many people shoot our silencers as possible. Because a lot of the "silencers are only for assassins" stuff comes from gun owners who have absolutely no experience with them other than the movies or TV shows.

So if we can convince people that they'll actually benefit from other people's silencer ownership because of the lower noise pollution, while also introducing more people to silencers and showing them that they're actually pretty useful for normal people, we might make some headway on changing the public's opinion.
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Old April 5, 2014, 03:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
The unspoken excuse was that, during the 1930's, when this country was in the throes of the Great Depression, an overthrow of the government became as close a possibility as it has ever been in the history of this country.
I'm not sure of that, but one of the motivations I've seen cited is the need for tax revenue. Silencers were somewhat expensive at the time. The idea was that anyone who could afford a luxury item like that could afford a $200 tax.

If they couldn't or wouldn't pay, it doubled as a de facto ban.
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Old April 5, 2014, 10:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Silencers were somewhat expensive at the time. The idea was that anyone who could afford a luxury item like that could afford a $200 tax.
The high tax kept the unwashed masses from having them.

Quote:
Establish a legitimate sporting purpose
NO.

The 2nd Amendment is not about sports, neither shooting ducks, bucks or paper. The idea that we "need" a "Sporting Purpose" to justify any of the weapons protected by the 2nd is surrendering the very idea of the 2nd Amendment.

Must we lose our principles to win an argument? If so, the argument is a Pyrrhic victory at best.
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Old April 6, 2014, 10:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob86
The 2nd Amendment is not about sports, neither shooting ducks, bucks or paper. The idea that we "need" a "Sporting Purpose" to justify any of the weapons protected by the 2nd is surrendering the very idea of the 2nd Amendment.

Must we lose our principles to win an argument? If so, the argument is a Pyrrhic victory at best.
That whooshing sound is the point zooming over your head. You're totally missing the point. First of all, we don't know if suppressors are protected by the 2A. Even if you agree that the 2A is so that the average citizen can be as well armed as a soldier of the time period (and the Supreme Court does NOT agree with that)...well, the average soldier is not issued a suppressed weapon.

How many court cases have been won by "that guy" who claims to the court that the 2A is his carry permit? Yells, "Shall not be infringed, beeyotch! I can haz a nuke if I want!" ? Zero. Say it again....does.not.work.in.reality.

Until we vote in a majority of politicians who will overturn all the crappy anti-2A laws from the NFA all the way up to microstamping and the SAFE act, we have to have the courage to be honest about the neck-deep crap we are stuck in, so that we can deal with the neck-deep crap.

Our "principles" are not being lost here. The system was manipulated by people who were out of touch with America's principles. They elected a majority of politicians who are similarly out of touch, and those politicians appointed Justices who are out of touch. Those Justices allowed the judicial branch of the government to shirk it's responsibilities, and here we are, neck-deep in crap.

We didn't vote for those politicians nor appoint those Justices, so again, our principles are wholly intact. We will continue to follow our principles, and that includes taking minor victories as well as major ones. Getting a hunting exception might be an excellent idea. Knowledge counters fear. Very few have seen suppressors, so all they "know" about suppressors is the crap they see in Hollywood. Once more are exposed, there will be less fear, and less resistance. Less resistance means a greater chance of victory, and that's a Good Thing.
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Old April 6, 2014, 11:05 AM   #23
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Quote:
How many court cases have been won by "that guy" who claims to the court that the 2A is his carry permit? Yells, "Shall not be infringed, beeyotch! I can haz a nuke if I want!" ? Zero. Say it again....does.not.work.in.reality.
People that yell "beyotch" won't convince anybody of anything, except that they lack good manners.

People that will advocate adopting the other side's demands (which are alledgedly based upon the other side's supposed principles*) "because it works" have lost their own principles, and are as doomed in the long run as a ship without a rudder..... they'll keep compromising until they are out of cake, in the mistaken belief that they might get some crumbs back ..... it's not as if the other side wants to sit down and enjoy some cake with you: They are convinced that cake is fattening, and as such is BAD for society, and you should not have it.


*I do not believe for a minute that the dedicated Anti's really believe in that "sporting purpose" claptrap: It's a tactic to divide gun owners, and to help obscure the real purpose of the 2nd Amendment, which was to prevent the Government having a monopoly or even a level of superiority, of Force over The People. The latter is the case now, and the Founders would be appalled.
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Old April 6, 2014, 12:19 PM   #24
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The irony of the NFA Acts of 34 and 35 is that some members of Congress who were somewhat knowledgeable about the 2nd Amendment made statements to the effect that they felt automatic weapons were particularly suitable for militia use.

Last edited by gyvel; April 6, 2014 at 04:52 PM.
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Old April 6, 2014, 12:21 PM   #25
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You might as well try telling Devil Anse Hatfield the McCoy's aren't bad folks, just a bit misunderstood. The fanatics (on both sides) are willing to swallow any rhetoric without bothering with the facts.

I saw a guy talking about Manchin-Toomey from our side. I forget who he was.. but the example he used was pretty much the ONE thing Manchin-Toomey's exemptions DID make ok. The guy from their side was no better. Then you have shoulder things that go up, magazines that you toss when they're empty, and on and on.
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