The Silence Of The Politicians

Well, the GOP are lost and rudderless with Trump at the helm. They’ve botched confirmations. They’ve botched repealing ObamaCare. Now they hope they are onto something better, making silencers for firearms easier to obtain. As usual there are pros and cons:
Pros:

  • Reduction in hearing loss for shooters especially at indoor ranges. Concrete floors and walls and ceiling reflect the usual muzzle blast and hit the shooter much harder than in the great outdoors but even there anything that reduces muzzle-blast is desirable.
  • Reduction in annoyance of the neighbours. One of the reasons there are so few firearms ranges is that neighbours just don’t like the noise. I don’t blame them and I’m a shooter. On a quiet weekend morning I often hear the rattle of gunfire from a range a few miles from here. It doesn’t hurt my ears but it is distracting and feels out of place.
  • Hunters are often detested because of the loud noises they make. In some countries silencers are required simply for this reason.
  • Police, from time to time, in an emergency, need to use their pistols without hearing protection indoors. It’s one of the negatives of policing that might be ameliorated by silencers. Most silencers are a little large to conveniently carry in a holster but even a silencer a bit too small would help somewhat. Makers could probably design pistols with silencers built in instead of screwed on. This could be more compact. The GOP likes police…

Cons:

  • Usually, I would expect accuracy deteriorates a bit when a silencer is used. Most silencers are screwed onto the muzzle and a muzzle is a beautiful thing. A well-made muzzle helps muzzle-blast work equally on every side of the bullet. Any deflection of muzzle-blast could affect accuracy. OTOH reducing muzzle-blast might aid accuracy. It’s another level of uncertainty in shooting.
  • They do cost something. If they were required, I wouldn’t like that but this bill is about availability not mandating use.
  • Folks who don’t like firearms don’t like the idea that a neighbour could be using a firearm and they don’t know about it.
  • Worst case: some murdering bastard uses a silencer to increase the body count by stealth or to facilitate escape and evasion.
  • Police rightfully are concerned about encountering bad guys with firearms. They sometimes shoot good people they are wound up so tightly. Bad guys with silencers could be very bad for police as the bad guy might get multiple chances to harm officers from a hidden location or take out one officer without his partner knowing.

So, I’m ambivalent. With handguns, a silencer is probably a good thing just for the protection of hearing. For rifles, a silencer would have to be very large for most calibres or the ammunition very low powered to make a silencer effective. I don’t think they are useful. In particular, hypersonic bullets cause a shock wave even outside the muzzle and the silencer can’t control that. Still, a silencer reduces the noise-level. That’s useful.

The concerns about criminals using silencers is legitimate. One could think of increasing penalties for misuse of a silencer but murdering bastards are unlikely to pay attention to that.

I don’t doubt Trump would sign this into law. He likes breaking things and learning from the results. The first terrorist in a mass-shooting to use a silencer might change his mind but at what cost? How many more bodies do there have to be before USA brings in reasonable controls for access to firearms? It’s one thing to say good citizens have the right to firearms. It’s quite another to hold that murdering bad guys should have the same rights. Then there’s the problem of sorting out the good guys from the murdering bad guys. No, religion or skin-colour or address won’t do it…

This could be interesting. I would expect almost all Dems to oppose the measure and perhaps enough GOPs to make this difficult in the Senate. They might even have to discuss the matter a bit instead of just ramming it through. I’m sure Trump will be annoyed by the delay. He wants to sign something quickly to prove how presidential he is. [SARCASM] I think it would be amusing if the first thing he signed into law was not The Wall, or killing ObamaCare but silencing politiciansfirearms, he being the least silent politician ever. I wonder if his believers would learn anything about his priorities that way.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to The Silence Of The Politicians

  1. dougman wrote, “you call them “silencers” which they are not”.

    Whether a device is a silencer or a suppressor is just a matter of degree. The effectiveness of the device depends a lot on powder charge, volume of bore and suppressor, baffling, muzzle velocity, pressure at the muzzle and the material of which the firearm and device are made. In WWII, commandos used a .45ACP rifle firing subsonic ammunition with built-in silencer. It was very quiet. See Delisle .45acp rifle and here. The sound of the discharge is drowned out by the reports of conventional firearms many yards away and even by the sound of impact on a metallic target. I imagine those videos are with full power ammunition. If one downloaded a bit it could be even quieter. That would be a great rifle for shooting rabbits without raising too many alarms.

    One major problem with silencers is that poachers might use them to avoid suspicion. I once met a poacher who was using a silencer on a .410 shotgun with slugs. That was in the late 1960s or early 1970s ISTR. I don’t know what the law was at the time as I only owned a .22RF rifle in those days. It wasn’t until 1976 onward that I began shooting in earnest. On balance, I think it is a good idea that silencers are suppressed in Canada. USA is going to Hell one way or another. Murdering bastards with silencers might only hasten the passage.

  2. dougman says:

    “The first terrorist in a mass-shooting to use a silencer might change his mind but at what cost? ”

    Since terrorists are criminals, whats stopping them from using one now? In addition, terrorists don’t care about being quiet, they want to cause the most shock in the shortest amount of time. Your logic is flawed, ONCE AGAIN.

    Actually all your pros/cons are ignorant as best, have you ever owned a suppressor? Obviously not, as you call them “silencers” which they are not. I can easily ring steel at 600 yards on a suppressed 10″ barrel firing 300BLK, which makes hunting hogs fun.

    Pogsey, why don’t you ever talk about Canadian policies? For example, banning a firearm solely from the words embellished on it is asinine You should be up in arms!

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