Suppress irrational rhetoric on gun suppressors


If you want to get a conversation fired up, talk about guns and gun control issues. Immediately, anyone in the conversation is expected to veer off to one side or the other. There is no in between.

That is certainly the case with respect to legislation U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-3rd District, is pushing in Congress, legislation that would make the purchase and ownership of gun suppressors easier for gun owners.

Granted, there might be more important matters that are or should be before Congress, but that's how Capitol Hill rolls. Or, more accurately, that's how things roll up, through and down the Hill.

The reaction to the legislation among the anti-gun faction is a bit reminiscent of how the movie "Reefer Madness" portrayed the effects of marijuana. They would lead you to believe that Jeff Duncan and others who support the legislation want to put suppressors, which do not silence but merely dampen the loudness of a discharged gun, in the hands of criminals. They might even go so far as to try to convince people that Duncan, et al do not care one iota about the victims of mass shootings in schools, malls, on military bases and the like. Nothing like using hysteria to get your point made and rally the forces.

But criminals on the inner city, homeland terrorists and deranged people who want to make headlines via a mass shooting are not concerned with how many decibels the gunfire registers. They're not concerned with their own hearing, much less the hearing of others around them when committing the acts. Furthermore, suppressors are not silencers, although they have commonly been referred to as such. If they truly were silencers, the conversation might well be different.

Instead, what Duncan is touting is designed to lessen potential dangers of hearing loss among sportsmen and those who target shoot for pleasure and competition.

For now, however, suppressors rank up there in the same category as hand grenades and machine guns. Purchasing them requires payment of a $200 federal tax as well.

We would suggest people put aside what they recall seeing in the black-and-white gangster movies Hollywood cranked out and approach this matter a bit more rationally rather than slapping labels on each other.

Those who lean left of center and claim they do not want to dispense with the Second Amendment and do not want to halt hunting and recreational shooting need to lead the way toward this discussion.

Mary Geren, from Anderson, is running against Duncan in the next election. She took aim at Duncan, saying the congressman is "spending his time and energy on making gun silencers cheaper and more accessible."

Perhaps Geren should venture out onto a target range where law-abiding people engage in what is considered a sport. They shoot at paper and metal targets, not people. Perhaps she should go hunting. Perhaps she should also see and hear a suppressor in use. She'd likely take note that a suppressor is not exactly an ideal add-on piece of equipment for someone wanting to conceal a weapon and commit a crime or take aim at people in a theater. Or on a ball field in Washington.

Duncan himself could have easily been among those shot in June when Republicans were practicing for their annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Does Geren really think Duncan, who said he came face to face with the shooter beforehand that morning, is inclined toward helping those types of people? •