Sometime this week our Congress is expected to vote on the SHARE Act. That’s short for Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which sounds pretty tame until we find that included in the bill is a provision called the Hearing Protection Act. This would make “silencers” legal in the very same week we have witnessed the worst mass killing in the history of the United States.
There are a lot more myths than truths about any noise-suppression device that attaches to a pistol or a rifle. Even with today’s technology, there is still a pretty loud bang with most silencers so the only real winner in the deal is the manufacturer. Only in Hollywood do silencers totally “silence” a shot because the bullet explodes inside the gun and then the projectile breaks the sound barrier. There are YouTube videos that will make you wonder about any crook who would ever want one.
The gun lobbyists have convinced our lawmakers suppressors aren’t getting a fair shake because without them “hunters can’t hear their surroundings, making it potentially dangerous for them and other hunters in the vicinity.” Please – I’d be embarrassed to say something like that!
In 1934 the National Firearms Act placed restrictions on “destructive devices,” which before World War II – mind you – outlawed sub-machine guns, “sawed off” shotguns, rocket launchers, hand grenades, and the like. Recreational hunters have no need nor want weapons like that. No hunter in the world needs a “silencer.”
The problem is the 1934 Act expired in 2004 and dysfunctional Washington has done nothing to replace it. I am told a silencer is relatively easy to make and any machinist can turn one out in no time. The SHARE Act was scheduled to be called the week that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice in Washington and my biggest fear is that a silencer might embolden the next misguided shooter. True hunters have gotten along pretty well without them for hundreds of years.
I am a big believer in a citizen’s right to bear arms. I am hardly alone, as best-guess estimates are that there are 300 million guns in the United States owned by the 325 million of us. That said, I cringed several days ago when a full-page ad offering hunting rifles for the upcoming season included at least three tactical assault weapons. Why those things shouldn’t be included in an updated National Firearms Act is a mystery I’ll never understand and the Las Vegas carnage is proof they should be.
It is said that half of the guns in America are actually owned by just 3 percent of the people and I have personally seen some of the most beautiful collections you can imagine. Our laws allow special permits for some firearms … I have even fired an antique submachine gun … but nobody I know has ever applied for a permit to keep a hand grenade lying around. Too many want to use the Second Amendment instead of common sense. Weapons of mass destruction should be limited to our military.
In the aftermath of any catastrophe there are the noise-makers who climb on the gun-control soapbox but not one voice that cries for the real solution. Just you watch – there is no way any mortal will ever gather up America’s firearms yet none of the anti-gun crowd can seem to understand that a gun never killed anyone. Until our nation gets a grip on mental illness we will have mass shootings virtually every day in the United States.
A “mass shooting” is considered when at least four people are shot or killed in a given incident. Just so you’ll know, Sunday night’s tragedy in Las Vegas was the 274th “mass shooting” in the United States this year. (Sunday was the 273rd day of 2017.)
Yesterday afternoon our law enforcement groups were trying to piece the past of a gunman none had ever heard of, yet it is very clear 40 percent of those in the Hamilton County jail need psychotropic drugs. When are we going to connect the dots? It is this way all across America but instead of looking the elephant in the eye we are blaming a lifeless tool.
People don’t get it; there are almost 800,000 hunting licenses issued in Tennessee every year and nobody without a gun is going to buy a license. The truth is hunters don’t shoot each other so that leads us closer to mental illness, this in a state where the 150-bed Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital hopelessly tries to serve over half of the counties in the entire state.
Our country must confront a sick society. In Chicago last week 82 people were shot, 15 of them dead. In the month of September there were 330 shot, 57 of them killed. Not one word on TV, no newspaper stories. Chicago has the strictest gun laws in America but, thus far, there have been 2,882 shot and 552 murdered. Going after the guns will never solve the problem.
In Chattanooga not a week goes by without a shooting. It is so commonplace we barely notice yet in Washington our members of Congress are now mulling over the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act and are thinking “hearing protection” is probably a good thing for our hunters.
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“Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain.