The horror of the Las Vegas shooting, the sheer numbers in such a short period of time, the fact that more people were killed in just a few minutes than in some of the Civil War battles; these things have the U.S. once again up in arms about gun control. This time, it isn’t specifically the guns that Americans should be worried about, but the accessories.
The Hearing Protection Act
One piece of legislation is already in progress. The Hearing Protection Act is part of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreation Act, which involves legislation concerning licensing, permits, and even hunting lands. The inclusion of The Hearing Protection Act would essentially make it easier to purchase silencers, or ore accurately, suppressors for guns. However, it would also mean that criminal acts involving the use of a silencer would carry sentences related to the use of a suppressor, in addition to sentences involving the use of a gun.
Gun owners may find it easier to buy a silencer, but criminals will face longer sentences for involving the accessories in a crime. At this time, the Act has been tabled due to the current climate concerning gun control as a result of the tragedy in Las Vegas.
Americans who oppose gun ownership or certain gun accessories are already asking why anyone needs a silencer, though the Las Vegas shooter did not bother with one.
The name of the Act speaks for itself. Silencers can be used during hunting as well as target practice to reduce the impact of gunfire on hearing loss. They would also reduce instances of accidents that happen during the hunting season, since hunters would be better able to hear each other speaking and moving around.
“Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level.” says Michael Stewart, PhD, Professor of Audiology, Central Michigan University.” (Gunshots sound off at 140-190 dB depending on the gun, caliber, and a number of other things, including the environment.)
The American Suppressor Association states “On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels, roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs.”
The difference between earplugs or covering and suppressors is that earplugs only protect the wearer, while suppressors can protect the hearing of anyone in the area. Many people don’t understand suppressors, and simply associate them with negative portrayals. We explain more about the Act and suppressors here.
NBC News reports that Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. has a bill in the works concerning bump-fire stocks, accessories that can effectively turn a semi-automatic gun into an automatic gun without modifying any of the internal mechanisms. The stock is attached to the barrel in such a way that the recoil causes the trigger to be pulled. It still won’t fire quite as fast as an automatic, but it’s close enough that when used by someone like the Las Vegas shooter, it can result in devastating numbers.
Cicilline reportedly doesn’t expect to have a lot of backing for the bill, which would make the stocks illegal on a federal level.
Currently, bump-fire stocks are legal on the federal level, but not on the state level in many states, like California.
Many are wondering why these stocks are even necessary if the person who owns them doesn’t intend to do something illegal, like go on a shooting spree. The answer to that question goes back to the Second Amendment.
What happened in Las Vegas is a tragedy, to be sure. Those in attendance, along with first responders, police, SWAT, and the families who faced tragic losses will never be the same. But, taking away the constitutional rights of all Americans because of the actions of a criminal, who obviously has some serious issues, is going to do nothing but widen the gap between American citizens and our government. The only thing it will do for psychopaths like the Vegas shooter is increase the price of the weapons they use to cause destruction against citizens who will be wishing they had a way to protect themselves.