I wrote the first judicial decision in Michigan dismissing a case based upon the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The reasoning is upheld in a published opinion by the Michigan Court of Appeals
So don’t claim that I want to get rid of people’s Second Amendment rights. I know what the Constitution says and what it prevents the government from doing.
At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 others were wounded in Las Vegas by one man who made a hotel room into a sniper’s nest. Using what is called a bump stock and extended clips attached to several semi-automatic rifles, Stephen Paddock fired thousands of rounds down on to a crowd of more the 22,000 people.
The bump stocks, extended clips and semi-automatic rifles, were all purchased legally. Over the 12 months prior to his attack, Paddock purchased 33 guns, many of them semi- automatic. Six were purchased at a Cabela’s in Verdi, Nevada. Several others were purchased at Discount Firearms and Ammo, a few blocks from the Vegas Strip. He used more than 10 suitcases to bring at least 23 weapons, to his hotel room.
From there he started firing at the crowd around 10:05 p.m. The staccato sound of bullets ricocheting and echoing lasted approximately 10 minutes. Officers’ recognition of that distinctive sound saved lives.
However, a bill in the House of Representatives would legalize gun silencers. The Hearing Protection Act is introduced by Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and John Carter, R-Texas. The name purposely hides that it’s about deregulating the sale of silencers.
Advocates say silencers have been given a bad rap by television and movies. They say silencers don’t normally reduce the noise of a gunshot to the quiet pop like a fist hitting a pillow, but do prevent hearing loss, allowing hunters to hear each other in the wild.
No Health Issue
However, Kristin Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said, “There’s no evidence of a public health issue associated with hearing loss from gunfire.” In reality, this argument is a smokescreen for a deregulatory initiative that would largely benefit the firearms industry while increasing the dangers of firearm violence.
Silencers can delay crowd awareness of these sniper massacres and slow the law enforcement response– that very thing happened in Southern California in 2013. Former Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner killed a couple in a parked car, one of whom was the daughter of the LAPD captain.
His use of a silenced weapon went undetected, even though he fired 14 shots to kill the couple. When he was ultimately surrounded in the woods, his use of a silenced sniper rifle made it difficult for sheriff’s deputies to find his position, resulting in the wounding of one officer and the death of another.
According to Advanced Armament Corporation, a silencer maker, they make rifles “more accurate” and allows more “rapid follow-up shots” by “reducing recoil and muzzle flip.”
Still, the House Natural Resources Committee approved the bill and took steps to fast-track it to the floor, including requesting an expedited analysis from the Congressional Budget Office and that other committees waive their jurisdiction.
Prevent a Larger Tragedy
It had been scheduled for a vote several months ago but was delayed after another sniper opened fire on a congressional baseball practice seriously wounding U.S. Representative Steve Scalise and Michigan native Matt Mika. After the Las Vegas massacre the vote has been delayed again.
That does not mean it will not reach a vote eventually. But the delay gives you time to contact your representative and tell them not to support this bill. You can help to try to prevent a larger tragedy by demanding they vote against legalizing silencers.
Imagine how much worse the Las Vegas shooting could have been if Paddock had been allowed to purchase several silencers to go with his semi- automatic rifles, bump stocks and extended clips.
How many more people would we be mourning?
This blog posting was first published in Deadline Detroit. Reprinted with permission.