Lawmakers Who Think They Can Stop "Ghost Guns" Trying To Stop Homemade Suppressors

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

The National Firearm Act of 1934 heavily restricted a number of items such as short-barreled long guns, machine guns, and suppressors. You could still have them, but they require special permits and a $200 tax stamp.

And you can’t find them in your average gun store.

Meanwhile, it seems lawmakers in Massachusetts are trying to stop people from making them at home.

Massachusetts is among a handful of states that ban silencers, also called sound suppressors. However, some people say gun owners are finding a way around the restrictions with legally purchased kits often assembled with household items.

A proposal heard Tuesday by the state Legislature’s Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security would update the state’s ban on the devices to account for component parts that can be easily used to construct homemade silencers.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Paul Tucker, D-Salem, said “do-it-yourself” silencers make it easier for criminals and potential mass-shooters to conceal their attacks.

“This is a public safety issue,” he told members of the committee. “Anybody who has studied active shooter situations knows the sound of gunfire is a trigger to get away from an area that might be harmful to them.”

Tucker said the legislation would put Massachusetts in line with federal law that has a much broader definition of illegal firearm components.

Show of hands: How many of the lawmakers pushing this also really believe they can legislate away so-called ghost guns?

Don’t be shy, just raise your hands.

All of them? I’m shocked.

Look, it’s important to understand that even if you buy one of these “kits,” which aren’t generally advertised as kits, you still can’t lawfully build a suppressor without going through the appropriate paperwork.

There’s a lesson here if any of these people were interested in learning it.

Suppressors are the most heavily regulated accessory you can still legally purchase. They’re not something you can just swing by the gun store and pick up on your way home anytime you feel like it. You’ve got to jump through all of the hoops.

And yet, their concern is that people are building them at home despite all that and they’re still able to believe they can somehow stop “ghost guns” from being a thing?

Honestly, I’m just sitting here shaking my head as I write this. The stupidity is just so magnificent in its scope.

I mean, if people found a way around suppressor laws, why would you believe they won’t find a way around “ghost gun” bans?

Sorry, but that’s not going to do a damn thing.

For those intent on breaking the law, passing new laws isn’t the way you stop them. If they’re building suppressors despite the heavily restricted nature of those devices, why do you think banning the sale of firearm kids will have any appreciable impact?

Then there’s the fact that makeshift suppressors can be made from household goods to varying degrees. If people can do that, banning supposed kits isn’t going to stop them either.

So what’s the solution? Maybe focusing on what criminals are actually doing rather than what they might do would be a good start. After all, attempts to preempt crime by making other things illegal rarely accomplishes what people think it will. Sure, they could try preempting crime by preempting people becoming criminals, but that would require effort and we know how legislators try to avoid that. But they could at least do their part to help empower police to go after those who use such items in an illegal manner.

They won’t, though. That doesn’t really get any headlines. Making it easier for the police doesn’t win points with their political party either.

So instead, they’re going to just prove how useless these laws are by trying to pass still more.