The NRA is beyond tone-deaf with this push to allow easier access to silencers: Bob Quarteroni
By Bob Quarteroni
The National Rifle Association, perpetually deaf to any rational, sensible gun law or regulation, has apparently lost what’s left of its institutional mind as well.
The latest weirdness to come out of the gang that couldn’t think straight misses the mark, according to US News, “The NRA and some in the gun industry have a new get-rich-quick scheme that’s so outrageous, it’s almost impossible to believe.”
In a normal universe, perhaps.
But nothing — nothing — is impossible to believe about this sanity-challenged bunch. But this one still beggars the imagination:
The NRA is backing “The Hearing Protection Act,” designed to make it far easier for hunters – anyone actually — to obtain gun silencers.
And the reason this is so urgently needed?
Because they are afraid the poor dears out hunting are hurting their ears with the loud bang-bangs they have to put up with. Seriously.
“Many gun owners and sportsmen suffer severe hearing loss after years of shooting, and yet the tool necessary to reduce such loss is onerously regulated and taxed. It doesn’t make any sense,” Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Affairs, said in a statement.
Well, he would know about not making sense, no doubt about that.
(And, by the by, if anyone is really worried about their hearing being damaged by the sounds of gunfire, there’s a simple, inexpensive solution everyone can agree on: The NRA sells hearing protection devices on its website store, starting at $29.99.)
Right now, silencers are available only to gun owners who pay a $200 tax and undergo a nine-month background check. Pennsylvania is one of 42 states where owning a silencer is legal.
The bill would axe the tax and the vetting process. Buying a silencer would be similar to buying a hunting rifle, which has no federal waiting period. Instead, it’s up to each individual state.
The result, as the New York Times said in an editorial is that “Inevitably, they will show up in the hands of the mass shooters who indulge macho fantasies in brandishing the adapted military assault weapons and large ammunition clips available in the civilian market.”
Many critics rightly point out that shots muffled by silencers would make it harder for potential victims to know that carnage was headed their way and harder for police to pinpoint and respond to a mass shooting.
Which is why gun-control groups and many Democrats are pushing back against the bill, pointing out the torrent of public gun massacres as examples of why guns should be loud and their sound recognizable to potential victims, police and first responders.
As Salon put it: “By muffling the noise generated with every shot…a silencer would provide a new degree of intimacy for public mass murder, delaying by crucial seconds or minutes the moment when someone calls the police after overhearing strange bangs coming from Theater 4 or Classroom D.”
That’s not a worry for First Son (and hunter) Donald Trump Jr. who, has lent his voice to this effort, arguing in a YouTube video produced by silencer manufacturer SilencerCo, that “it’s a health issue.” For good measure, he added that it can help with getting “little kids into the game.”
So why is the NRA so hot over this?
The same reason they are so hot over anything that can bring more firearms and accessories into the market: A blind, unhinged devotion to their twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment.
They never worry about the consequences of the hell they unleash on the public with each new assault on the commonweal. That would require a moral compass, an ability to reason clearly and a genuine concern with the public safety and welfare.
Novelist Stephen King, who knows a bit about horror and is a proud gun owner, commented on that arrogant, stupid attitude in an opinion piece in the Bangor Daily News.
“I think we all understand that. You can outlaw AR-15s, but you can’t outlaw crazy. The next Adam Lanza is out there somewhere….The job we all have, as responsible Americans, is to make it as hard for these loonies as possible.”
But when the loonies are on the inside looking out, that becomes almost impossible to achieve.
Bob Quarteroni, a frequent PennLive Opinion contributor, is a former columnist and editor at the Centre Daily Times. He lives in Swoyersville, Pa. Readers may email .pennlive.com/opinion/2018/05/people_with_disabilities_face.html#InterArticle_Center_0