Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Yes, for the first time in over 70 years, the supreme court is hearing a case regarding the 2nd amendment. But for the first time in even longer, it will rule on an individual right to keep and bear arms. It's unlikely anything like this will happen again in our lifetimes.

I got up early to watch the oral arguments.

We live in important times.

I feel pretty good about our chances. Got my toes crossed.

I know it's unlikely there will be any immediate sweeping action based on a pro-gun ruling; but that won't stop me from imagining myself at the range, issuing a long burst from my silenced, full-auto, MP5.

PDF transcript of oral arguments here. But the written arguments are supposed to have more bearing on the decision. The oral arguments provide a bit of insight into the justices, whom commented frequently.


blogagog said...

Heh, what time to you get up?!? :)

I'm pro-gun, but I'm not interested in allowing silencers to be legal. Are you?

Kent McManigal said...

"Silencers" are simply safety equipment that could save a shooter's hearing much better than clumbsy earmuffs. They absolutely should be "legal".

Fletch said...

Kent's right. I don't much care for wearing ear protection while shooting. (but my love for hearing intrudes)

People usually make the ZOMGASSASSINS! argument when talking about silencers, but that's such a tiny portion of killings as to be infinitesimal. Most shooters just want to retain their hearing after years of shooting. Modern suppressors claim to actually increase accuracy by diverting some of the gas that would affect the bullet's path as it exited the muzzle.

Fletch said...

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the most important argument; it's cool, and I want one.

Kent McManigal said...

If the government viewed guns as it does everything else, silencers would be required.

Josh said...

I'm thinking a suppressed short-barreled FA M4 in 6.8. That would be the cat's ass, and I want one oh so bad.

"Silencer" is actually a misnomer. Suppressor is more correct, since they'll drop the noise signature 30-60dB, but will not completely "silence" anything.

Kent's right - I'm required to have a muffler on my motorcycle, but am disallowed from one on my much louder firearm. Doesn't make much sense.

blogagog said...

I'll grant you that having a silencer would be cool as hell, but have you guys thought this through? The silencing effect wouldn't help us much, other than possibly allowing someone to shoot at a range without ear protection. But as I understand it, they probably wouldn't drop the noise enough for that to be a reality, and the wadding goes bad so fast that you'd have to buy a new silencer for each session.

The only group who would really benefit from legal silencers is the criminal group. A silenced gun can't be heard from as far away, and could be easily confused with other sounds, allowing the criminal extra time to escape.

I believe in the 2nd as much as anyone, but I hope and pray it doesn't include the right to silence your weapon.

Fletch said...

Full auto weapons are just as regulated as silencers. Yet gangs and criminals are able to obtain full auto weapons. I don't think it's impossible for these guys to get silencers, and yet they don't catch them with silencers. When the cops find a gang's cache, it usually has a number of illegal FA weapons, but no mention is made of silencers. (Can you imagine if they found gang members with silencers? The media would play it up, and ask for more silencer regulation!) I suspect this is because shooting someone is a form of posturing, and should therefore be loud. But I don't really know.

However the fact remains that recreational shooters shoot paper FAR more than criminals shoot people. Legislating against the small percentage when tens of millions of people could benefit from silencers seems wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what kind of suppressors have to be replaced after every range day?

Most made by reputable manufacturers last, literally, forever. I've fired fully automatic 5.56 thru a Gemtech without hearing protection of any kind and it was a pleasant experience. Friends of mine have cans from a few years back that work just as well after several thousand rounds. Some people still use the old "Maxim Mufflers" from way back when.

There are far more uses for suppressors legally than illegally. I, for one, would love to have one on my nightstand gun, since as it is I know I'll probably blow an ear drum if I ever have to use it. I'd like them on weapons at the range, owned by me and others, since they help get rid of the flinches. I'd like to see them in use with LEO.

What I don't think I'll be seeing is more use by criminal elements. Bank robbers or guys knocking over a liquor store with some Lorcin or Jennings or HiPoint POS aren't going to use cans, nor are most gangland style shooters, since they like to make noise. The percentage of the populace that makes up the criminal element is low, and the more "sophisticated" criminals that are featured in movies like Hitman are so low as to be statistically nil.

I don't fear that, nor should the legislature be trying to create fear in order to keep something as safe and useful as a suppressor from being used by safe, law abiding shooters, of which there are tens of millions.

blogagog said...

I certainly could be wrong about the wadding blowing out quickly. I'm not a gun aficionado. I only own a 100 year old .22, an 80 year old 16 gauge, and a 50 year old .357 pistol. I'm DEFINITELY not up on current gun technology.

Regardless, when you say "There are far more uses for suppressors legally than illegally", I'd love to hear them. If you compare the number of uses criminals would find for them vs. the number of times you've used your nightstand weapon (which I'm assuming is zero so far, and I hope it continues to be), then this is an argument in my favor.

I don't believe you are correct when you suggest criminals like to make noise. I think it's more likely that they like to impress their friends (and also make some cash). A silencer will increase their odds of getting away to rob again, and if you are correct that silencers last forever, that will only increase the likelihood that criminals will buy them.

Fletch said...

Again; I'm pretty sure criminals have just as much access to suppressors as they do FA weapons, as they are both equally regulated. The fact remains that we simply don't see criminals using silencers. I'm sure if we even got a whisper of common criminals using silencers the press would go nuts!

As to the more legal than illegal uses; it doesn't matter how many individual uses there are when those who would use them legally outnumber those who would use them illegally by orders of magnitude.

.000374% of guns in America are used in the commission of a crime every year. Can you really approve of restrictions that apply to 100% of shooters when you only want to restrict .000374%???

Kent McManigal said...

This is just another issue the anti-gun people use to divide those of us who have no such delusions.

blogagog said...

Eh, I don't know. I've been offerred hot guns for sale a few times in my life. I've never even heard of someone trying to sell a silencer. I don't think they are as widely available on the street as you believe, ET.

Anyway, it's not that big of a deal to me. I'm fine with making them available and seeing what happens, if you guys want them so much.

I don't like your statistical logic though. Currently, 0% of sarin gas in the US is used in crimes. Should we stop regulating it because it is unfair to do so to the 100% of owners who don't use it in crimes?

Fletch said...

Come on, blogi. You know that's unfair. You're comparing a firearm suppressor, a device which has a legitimate safety function which can benefit tens of thousands in their hobby, to a gas with the primary function of killing humans. That's a non sequitur with some straw man mixed in, and you're better than that.

JP said...

For those paranoids, the reason the common crook isn't all that interested in acquiring a suppressor is simple. Look at one installed and in use. . . big honkin thing, ain't it?
Where is the goblin gonna hide that while it is attached to the weapon?
You'd think they'd be mandatory on all guns if concealed carry was the big worry. "Is that a suppressor in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
If the size isn't all that important, they are fond of bigger guns, or shotguns, and one isn't gonna get a "silencer" for those. On a rifle they are of limited use if one doesn't use special ammo or an oddball load like .338 Whisper. The bullet needs to be subsonic for them to work fully. Even a 9x19 with fast ammo is pretty loud through a suppressor. not as bad as without, yes, silent, no.

Nice comparison on Sarin and suppressors. . . sorta like comparing apple and elephants.

Fletch said...

Good point about them preferring small weapons. I took note when I kept hearing people being shot with 380's and 25's. (and idiots gang members talking about how they'll "buss uh cap" with their 3-80) o_O