Riddle me this, gun fetishists, why do you need silencers?


Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

silencerPhoto: www.atf.gov

Alas, because the annual AZ Legislature session coincides with the busiest time of year for my place of business I cannot keep up with all the bills as the wonderful Craig McDermott does. But I still try to keep up and things going through the lege tend to catch my eye.

One was Sen. Kelli Ward(R) putting forth a floor amendment to SB1460, which originally restored gun rights to people convicted of crimes whose civil rights have been restored. Ward’s amendment expands the bill to allow for nunchucks – excuse me nunchaku – as well as sawed-shotguns and silencers.

I found this development with the bill a tad alarming but AZ Republic editor Joanna Allhands talked me down from the ledge on that:

Let’s all calm down about Senate Bill 1460.

A lot of folks seem to think that this bill would allow any Tom, Dick and Harry to go out and buy a silencer or sawed-off shotgun. Like, you can just go pick ’em up off any gun store shelf and it’s fine.

But that’s not the case.

Actually, it’s already legal to own silencers and sawed-off shotguns in Arizona. But first, you must go through a slew of federal paperwork to register the item and pay the federal tax to get it. It can take months to get everything approved and in order.

That wouldn’t change.

The only thing this bill seems to do is legalize nunchucks, which has received far less arm-waving than the silencers and sawed-off shotguns. Oh, and it specifically says that people whose rights have been restored to possess and purchase firearms can own these things.

Whew! So Arizona isn’t proposing a new law authorizing those things, it is simply reinforcing existing federal law that allows for…WAIT, WHAT??

Okay, so I suppose a sawed-off shotgun might have some personal security utility that a non-altered shotgun doesn’t. And there’s the possibility of having some serious fun at the firing range with one. And as for nunchaku well, you do you with them!

But the silencer? What’s up with that? Who besides Tony Soprano (or his real-life counterpart) needs one? Assuming that the average gun enthusiast who was enthusiastic enough to approach Sen. Ward to ask her to include silencers in her amendment isn’t planning on a gangland murder spree, then what do they want silencers for? I can’t see why silencers would enhance a shooting range experience, since (having shot at ranges many times myself) the loud noise of the gun going off is part of the enjoyment.

Thus, I’m forced to conclude that gun fetishists who think it’s super important to have silencers available to them must have concocted some hilariously elaborate fantasies involving themselves as patriots somehow bringing down President Obama’s communist takeover by silently plugging his jackbooted agents of tyranny full of lead. (Not likely, as they have tanks and drones.) Or maybe they imagine themselves as Liam Neesons avenging, stealthily, the constant abductions of their loved ones by swarthy villains. (Either scenario practically requires the hero to do the Unnecessary Combat Roll.)

The very fact that silencers are at all legal is an indulgence of the fantasies of gun fetishists that also makes silencers available to all kinds of truly bad people who aren’t necessarily concerned with your well-regulated militia.


  1. I spent 32 years as a USAF pilot, flying small recip, turbine, and jet aircraft particularly notable for the noise they produced. My hearing is virtually gone, and I have a small disability for tinnitus. I used to enjoy target shooting and rifle competition, but had to give it up, due to the noise–each shot sounded as if someone were clapping their hands over my ears. Then a friend shared a “suppressor” (there is no such thing as a “silencer”), and I was able to resume shooting. Suppressors are expensive, heavily taxed and regulated, and present no viable threat to the citizenry. If you don’t like them, don’t get one….

  2. The silencer is used by a lot of people for target shooting. The loud noise is psychological, and forces the shooter to either blink, or jerk a little bit when actually pulling the trigger. That being said, criminals use things that are legal or not to commit crimes. This law does nothing, except allow people to legally own nunchuks.

  3. So are these issues important to the people of AZ, or is the legislature representing special interests with their bills? When are we going to get mad enough to do something about it?

    • I suppose that since their only purpose is for murder, and they are legal in 39 states with 600,000 in private ownership according to the ATF, you should be easily able to cite a murder case in which a silencer was used. I’m waiting…

  4. They keep passing these bills to remind the 70% of white people who vote republican that they are pro gun rights and democrats are not. The democratic party is about nuance the arizona voter is not. Randy parraz is trying to register hispanic voters to overcome the 70% of white voters who vote republican.

  5. It funny how all these absolute “rights”, in the distorted mind of Kelli Ward, against traffic cameras and for absolute gun “rights”, does not translate into a woman’s absolute right to decide her own personal reproduction decisions.

    • Or because you don’t want to damage your hearing. Or to not upset your neighbors. Or to be able to shoot more accurately. Or to be able to shoot without scaring your animals. Or because they are fun to use. Or to reduce recoil for new or smaller shooters. Or to be able to hunt without scaring other animals. Or because it’s 100% legal and your right to own one.

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