What If I Told You Silencers Are Useful, Not Scary?

The opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times actively recruited me months ago to provide commentary on firearms from time to time. Here’s a sample of today’s op-ed, Gun silencers are useful, not scary.


More than 100 years ago, inventor Hiram Percy Maxim created two almost identical products to accomplish the same goal in two very different industries. The divergent ways we treat those products today reveals the irrationality driving our national firearms debate.

One of Maxim’s inventions, a muffler for the internal combustion gasoline engine, was lauded for its ability to reduce ear-splitting noise. Now mufflers are mandatory for cars, trucks, buses, and industrial machinery to keep people from suffering permanent hearing loss.

Maxim also invented a gun muffler. Popular among hunters and target shooters worldwide, even President Theodore Roosevelt was an avid supporter of the so-called Maxim Silencer. Silencers were in common use in the United States until the Great Depression, when impoverished Americans began using silenced rifles to poach deer, rabbit, and other animals — sometimes even livestock — to feed their families. This did not sit well with game wardens, ranchers or the federal government.

When Congress passed the National Firearms Act in 1934 to regulate machine guns, sawed-off shotguns and short-barreled rifles favored by Prohibition-era gangsters, silencers were thrown in for good measure. If a person wanted to buy a silencer, he had to seek approval from the federal government and then buy a punitively expensive tax stamp. (That’s still true today.) Gun mufflers have largely been associated with crime ever since, thanks to the Hollywood cliche of an assassin ominously screwing a silencer onto the barrel of a gun before a fight he almost always loses.

In the movies and on television, silencers reduce the sound of gunfire from a loud and distinct bark to a faint cough that can’t even be heard from the next room. In the real world, the three sounds created when a gun fires — the supersonic crack of the bullet, the muzzle blast of gasses created by burning gunpowder, and the cycling of the weapon — simply cannot be completely eliminated.


Please follow the link and read the rest, then add your intelligent commentary to that of the L.A. Times’ regular readers. The more we drive up their traffic on positive pro-gun stories and the more thoughtful contributions you make to their comments section, the more likely they are to ask for other Second Amendment-supporting writers to contribute to the pages of the Times.

This is a long term ideological campaign, folks.

Help change minds, and we can start rolling back some of these silly gun control laws that don’t help anyone.

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