When Silence isn’t Golden

The article was written and submitted by Cath Kestler, a resident of Silver Creek, NY

delusionalThe House of Representatives were set and ready to hold hearings on legislation to deregulate the sale of firearm silencers on the morning of the mass shooting targeting members of Congress at that baseball field in Virginia.

Now the Senate has a bill as well.  They call it the SHUSH Act, and it has been introduced under the guise of protecting the hearing of hunters.  The legislation would make it infinitely easier for firearm silencers to fall into the wrong hands by effectively eliminating the need for paperwork in their sales, and allowing them to be sold without a background check.

Let’s be clear: the gun lobby’s attempts to deregulate the sale of silencers put profits of manufacturers ahead of public safety.  Silencers suppress the sight and sound of gunfire and make it harder to locate criminals who use them in crimes.  They also make it more difficult for innocent people to identify where the gunfire is coming from when the shooting starts.

In the House it is referred to as the Hearing Protection Act with 154 co-sponsors and it would eliminate the $200 transfer tax on suppressors by dropping them from the NFA rules, but still requires they should be transferred through federal firearms licensees after a background check, deregulating them as firearms.  Both bills provide a refund on the tax stamps bought since October 22, 2015.

In the Senate the bill was brought about by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho which is the home of the well-known suppressor maker, Gemtech as well as StingerWorx, Ballista, and Tactical Innovations; in Lee’s state they have SilencerCo and OSS Suppressors amongst other firearm industries.

Currently the Senate measure has been referred to the Finance Committee while the House version (introduced by Iowa’s Steve King) has been referred to both the Ways and Means (wonder where Reed stands on this) and the Judiciary Committee.

I have done some reading through comments on actual pro-gun lobby sites and most of the comments are saying that silencers don’t really “silence” the gunshot like it shows in movies and television shows; in reality all it does is change the sound and the decibel levels drop minimally.  Which doesn’t actually support what our lawmakers are stating—the loss of hearing.

Are you aware that most 911 calls come into the dispatcher when gunshots are actually heard?  If a silencer actually changes the way a gunshot sounds, how is that helpful to anyone?

Silencers pose a danger in the wrong hands, making it harder for law enforcement to identify and react quickly to gunshots.  In an active shooter situation, hearing and recognizing a gunshot can be a matter of life and death.  We have core public safety laws to keep silencers out of criminal hands for decades, without blocking access to law-abiding citizens.  The gun lobby presents this legislation as an attempt to protect shooter’s hearing, but silencers are not the most effective or the safest way to do so.  Widely available ear protection products work better than silencers to protect hearing and safety—which is why the US military relies on them, not silencers to protect soldiers’ hearing.

ShotSpotter, a tool which recognizes the sounds of gunshots alerted law enforcement to nearly 75,000 gunfire incidents in 72 cities in 2015:  That’s an average of one every seven minutes.  These tools would be significantly undermined by the widespread use of silencers.

Over the last eight years of the Obama Administration the NRA and the gun lobby worked on fear mongering gun owners that President Obama was coming for your guns.  Since the new administration has come to be gun accessories sales have dropped off and the gun lobby is looking for new ways to increase their sales.

Lawmakers should join law enforcement officers and major law enforcement organizations in rejecting this bill and the gun lobby’s dangerous pursuit of profit over public safety.  Call your Senators and Representatives to let them know it should be people over party.


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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16 Responses to When Silence isn’t Golden

  1. Rynstone says:

    Let me see if I understand this train of thought correctly; a criminal is thinking about shooting one or more people and he decides he/she should get a silencer. He/she then discovers that silencers are illegal.
    A. Does he call the whole thing off and not shoot the person/people he was plan on shooting
    B. He is a criminal and decides teh hell with laws and illegally purchases a silencer on the Black market or goes ahead with the shooting without the silencer.
    C. Laughs at gun restriction laws and shoots a few more people to show his contempt for gun laws

    Gun laws usually keep firearms out of teh hands of law abiding citizens while doing little to nothing to stop bad guys.

    It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.


  2. cathkestler says:

    Footnote: a big thank you to Gabby Giffords for some of my information which was from conversations we had while at a luncheon for gun safety.


  3. cathkestler says:

    Oh I see you are standing by the old criminals will still get them…
    In Dallas when the police were being shot at there were a lot of ‘good guys with guns’ they were found running away from the shooter cowering with the people without guns.
    This is all about deregulation of a dangerous instruments for the sake of profit over public safety.


  4. whungerford says:

    I don’t see vigilantism as the answer to any social problem.


  5. Rynstone says:

    What shooting event in Dallas ?


  6. Rynstone says:

    I don’t think anyone does. Unfortunately the last attempted mass shooting was a mentally unstable liberal Democrat.


  7. cathkestler says:

    https://www.nytimes.com › 2016 › … › dallas-police-shooting.html


  8. Rynstone says:

    Your link was of no help to me. I did however find 3 stories with a Yahoo search (links below) and now remember this. No where in any of these three stories does it state that armed “good guys” with firearms were there and running away from the shooters.
    This story is about Black Lives Matter protestors and their violence. This story does not say anything about peaceful conservative demonstrators. C’mon, please try to be a little more truthful with your representation to me or please back it up with facts or a reliable news story. It is hard to have a debate with someone who misrepresents teh facts or available information. Thank you
    by the way Gabby Giffords is a hypocrite. Both her and her husband were both publicly pro 2nd Amendment until her unfortunate shooting (by a crazed Liberal Democrat) and now Mark Gifford allows anti 2nd Amendment groups to use Gabby as a gun control advocate by parading her out to speak publicly where she acts and speaks like a trained parrot. It is embarrassing to watch and disgraceful and shameful how her husband and these anti 2nd Amendment groups use a disabled and handicapped woman as their public spokesman. Do they have no integrity or shame?

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/08/us/dallas-police-shooting-map.html, https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-ambush/2016/07/14/dallas-police-shooter-killed-4-officers-street-1-second-floor-window,


  9. whungerford says:

    What then did you mean when you wrote “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun?”


  10. Rynstone says:

    I will revise with the politically correct statement “it takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun”. This is pretty self explanatory.
    Here is a recent example http://www.khq.com/story/35905776/i-didnt-want-him-back-teen-talks-about-tense-moments-scaring-away-wanted-man


  11. Rynstone says:

    pystaw, why does it show some “comments are waiting moderation” while other comments post immediately ? Thank you for replying


  12. whungerford says:

    It seems to me that you advocate private law enforcement by means of violence.


  13. whungerford says:

    Rynstone, speaking for myself, not for pystew, I would note that the blog is moderated, only bad language and personal attacks are disallowed. All opinions are ordinarily welcome. Review is bypassed for posters with a good record; I have no idea why your posts shouldn’t appear as soon as you submit them.


  14. pystew says:

    If a person who has had a comment approved, the blog will accept future comments unless we put more limits a person who continually ignores the “HOW TO COMMENT” guidelines. (https://newny23rd.com/hot-to-comment/). As far as I know only one person has reached that level, and was after many warnings.


  15. CJ says:

    I live in NY and I sell silencers. They are not murder tubes. They only moderate the noise. Oh and by the way, I’m a police officer and fully support the passage of the HPA as well as the eventual repeal of the safe act. Thank you for the laugh.

    PS. Shot spotter is garbage and from what I understand never worked properly.


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