The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health.

Since I registered for Medicare, a week doesn’t go by when I don’t receive something in the mail offering a hearing aid at a reduced ‘special for seniors’ price. So when I found out about a new federal bill called the Hearing Protection Act, I got really excited because I figured that the Congress was going to make it easier and cheaper for me to start hearing again.

silencer             But in fact this proposed law has nothing to do with helping me hear at all; the purpose of the bill is to make it easier to buy a silencer and thus make it harder for me to hear the sound of a gun being shot off, a noise which, by the way, is a good thing to hear because it tells me that someone may be using a gun in a dangerous and unsafe way.

It figures that the moment Gun-nut Nation comes up with a way to bolster sagging gun sales, they would want everyone to think that what they are doing will actually protect people rather than create harm. The same bunch has been peddling the same nonsense about the virtues and benefits of concealed-carry and the value of walking around with a gun.  But the problem is that gun sales have now slumped and industry analysts predict a rocky year ahead.  Shares of Smith & Wesson (now calling themselves American Outdoor Brands I guess because they own a company that manufactures saws for cutting down trees) have dropped from $30 to $20 a share – the Obama bloom is clearly off the rose and nobody sees it coming back any time soon.

But why would anyone imagine that just because people can now put a silencer on their gun that this will help the gun industry sell more guns?  Because putting a silencer on a gun isn’t the same thing as just changing the grip or adding a laser sight.  In order to mount a silencer on the front of a gun barrel you need to machine the outside of the barrel’s end so that the silencer will screw on and hold tight. If the silencer isn’t mounted exactly flush on these rails, you’ll probably destroy the silencer with the first shot and also probably break the gun. Now here’s where things get tricky, or sticky.

Most hunting guns have barrels that will take a scope or use the iron (open) sights that are part of the barrel itself. Which means for a silencer you have to change barrels which in many cases requires changing the gun.  This is also true with pistols, some of which have barrels that are easily swapped out, others are attached to the bolt. And every pistol that might take a silencer will need a longer barrel so that the part that is machined to accept the silencer will stick out from the front of the slide.  In other words, you’re buying another gun.

Funny, but this doesn’t seem to be explained in the advertising for silencers that I have seen online.  You would think from the promotion for silencers is that all you have to do is buy one, then go through the paperwork, fork over your $200, wait six months or more for the purchase to be approved and then away you go.  That’s not true. What this new law aims to do is get rid of the current licensing process (mandated since the National Firearms Act of 1934) and thus make the purchase of a silencer just as easy and simple as buying any other consumer product that you can put on a gun.

Know what? This law has nothing to do with protecting hearing. The purpose of this law is to give the gun industry a new product line that can be sold to current gun owners because nobody’s buying new guns.  The only protection being offered by this law is protection for the gun industry’s bottom line.

20 thoughts on “The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health.

  1. That’s the blessing of a gun. Durable goods. I guess in lieu of “buy the new, 2018 Glock”, one is reduced to trying to put more gadgets on it or buy the new tactical-silencer adaptable version. So has planned obsolescence come to firearms marketing?

    I kinda liked the idea that guns were loud when I hunted in Upstate NY. It let me know someone had gotten a shot off and I could watch for deer moving from that direction.

  2. Come on guys. If the NRA was just interested in moving product. ie guns, they would have backed HRC – or a 3rd term for Obama.
    I know, credibility would have been an issue, but I think you get my point.
    If you are serious about assessing the reality of modern suppressors, spend a few minutes on Youtube. You will find that the very best, cost no object pure titanium models can get a .223 down to about 135 db. You still totally need ear protection at that level and the super-sonic bullet crack is absolutely convincing and not likely to be confused with any other sound. And deer level rounds are inevitably well above that. In the woods, in other words, you will know whats happening from meaningful distances.
    The modern “silencer” industry does not need the NRA to encourage demand. If you go to a range with a suppressed rifle, people will gather around asking questions, thank you for your contribution to their comfort, and generally make it plain what they want for Christmas.
    For any pistol above a .22 LR, a “silencer” needs to be bigger than the original handgun to be effective. So much for concealability.
    The NFA status is an anachronism.
    There are parts of Europe where they are required instead of banned.

    In short, the current law is a bad trade-off. It is rare for anyone to benefit from hearing gunshots from more than a mile away and it is every few minutes that someones hearing is degraded.

    There will always be engineering issues. As our host pointed out, the method of attachment needs to be correct. Simple threads will not do. There needs to be secondary locking. Also, weight is such an issue that titanium is the material of choice. = $$
    Also, they get too hot to touch after 5-10 rounds.

    • Actually, I suspect if silencers were all that valuable to crooks, there would be a thriving market of primitive versions. They make the handgun quite bulky. From the looks of the ones on the Internet, they would make CC quite cumbersome. Basically putting a high tech muffler ($$$) on a gun.

  3. No, I don’t get your point and to make an argument over whether the NRA should back HRC or not is to make an argument which is so absurd that it’s not worth taking seriously. What this law would do is set a precedent for moving other items that are on the NFA list into regular commerce which is simply another way to get people used to the idea that de-regulating guns is a good thing.

    • Getting people used to the idea that de-regulating guns is a good thing does not sound to me like an evil, under-handed conspiracy. It sounds more like “America”.
      What could be more American than showing everyone how to live better without unnecessary “regulations”? It is almost like showing how to live without a monarch.
      Speaking of removing rules… open carry has been in effect in Texas for more than a year now. When it began, a long list of public commentators solemnly proclaimed that BAD THINGS would become commonplace as a result.
      The real world outcome has been, of course, nothing. No bad outcomes related to open carry. Nada. Zip. In State with nearly 30 million people and more land mass than any country in Europe except Russia.
      The thing is, I was never personally in favor of open carry, but I know people who are and I respect where they are coming from. There are 2 groups: One is small, another large. The small group consists of folks who are enthusiasts for pistol sports like Cowboy Action Shooting and who have chronically worried about being busted in the course of their hobby because of having visible handguns.
      The much larger group are gun rights activists who quite deliberately wanted to make a highly public example of how a State can, in effect, dismantle restrictive gun laws with no downside. Because they knew, in advance, how the proposed experiment would turn out and were more than happy to let their opponents put their names on predictions that would soon enough make them look ridiculous.

      • So tell me. Is requiring vaccinations of school-age children an ‘unnecessary’ regulation? No – because without vaccinations, certain types of illnesses appear more frequently. And this can simply be demonstrated through evidence-based data. So who decides what is an unnecessary regulation and what is a necessary regulation? You? Me? The whole point of evidence-based research is to take such decisions out of the realm of make-believe and try to base such decisions on evidence. But if you can’t do the research, and in the case of guns you can’t, then how do you figure out whether a regulation will work or not?
        I agree that many regulations on guns and other things are probably unnecessary. But that doesn’t mean that the idea of regulating is bad per se.

      • There is an unwritten law in Medical Research: “If a large, double-blinded study regarding the benefit a new treatment is allowed to run to completion, there is nothing much there.” In other words, real benefits tend to become obvious and ethics demand that good treatments cannot be witheld just for the sake completing a formal study.
        Indeed, that is exactly what happened with anti-retrovirals for HIV back in the mid 90s, just as an example. After a few months into the study, the untreated, blind “control” group were all called in to be given the meds stat.
        This is what the world looks like when something actually works.
        You see where I am going. Gun laws are the placebos in this scenario. The results are the same whether you pass them or repeal them. Even the NYTs has admitted this in one of their rare sober moments.
        Even the proponents of stricter laws who like to point to recent study results regarding law changes in individual states are celebrating miniscule improvements that look like no more than random variations. Besides, if you can get a glance at the raw data for every state, it is trivially easy to tell which ones will prove whatever it is that you are being paid to prove – and pick those states data-set to formally write about while ignoring the others.

        Anyone interested in “research” regarding the real dangers of gun violence just needs a map with an overlaid indicator of events. A map of anything – city, state, or country. The clustering is extreme.

  4. According to a report by the Obama administration, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on noise levels at outdoor firing ranges:

    “Sound level meter measurements revealed that peak noise levels during gunfire were greater than 160 dB….
    The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students’ or instructors’ noise exposure from gunfire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel. However, some states do not permit civilians to use suppressors on firearms.”

  5. If removing restrictive gun laws really did predictably lead to higher rates of gun violence, the gun rights community would have to be insane to advocate such policies.
    In recent years, in state after state, when laws have been loosened, both sides put their bets on the table regarding what would happen. This has all been very public.
    This drama has played out in about 30 plus states with the roll-out of new concealed carry/open carry laws.
    If gun control people were smart, they would learn to stop making public predictions.

  6. But of course the same people who tell you that research shows no difference when you change gun laws also are opposed to any research. Sorry – can’t have it both ways.

  7. Gun law research goes on constantly without hindrance from anyone. The only thing that gun rights people are opposed to is Federal funding for blatantly one sided advocacy.
    I mean, if M. Bloomberg spent money funding “research” that miraculously found support for what everyone knows he wanted in the first place, there would be a problem with credibility.
    When the Federal Gov. funds research, there is at least the appearance of objectivity. Which is why the rotten-ness of the methodologies deployed by the recipients of such funding in the past for “research” deserved a smack down.
    They should not be given the “cover” of Federal funding for naked advocacy.

  8. Have you ever actually read any of the research which you claim is to ‘blatantly one-sided.?’ Can you name 2 or 3 such articles? I bet you haven’t read it and I bet you can’t name 2-3 CDC-funded articles that were so ‘one-sided.’

    • “I bet you can’t name 2-3 CDC-funded articles that were so ‘one-sided….”

      If you really cared what the CDC thinks, then why didn’t you mention that the CDC (who has a whole section of their website dedicated to studying hearing loss and prevention) has actually studied Hearing loss due to gunfire.

      Guess what they have to say about the use of “Silencers”…

      “The only potentially effective noise control method to reduce students’ or instructors’ noise exposure from gunfire is through the use of noise suppressors that can be attached to the end of the gun barrel.”

      Hmmmmmm, Strange that you failed to mention that…Since this article is all about Suppressors and hearing loss.

  9. The fact that I don’t mention a particular CDC report is no reason to give me a snarky comment that I ‘don’t care what the CDC thinks’. I happen to know that report and didn’t mention it because the current promotion of silencers by the gun industry is based on the idea that hunters need this kind of hearing protection which is simply false. I also think the report itself doesn’t really clarify the safety issues about gun noise because the testing criteria assumes steady noise levels of several hours and people who take gun classes on an in door range are shooting for a few minutes at most. Obviously someone who is working as a range officer all day is in a different category but again the current debate over silencers is talking about hearing loss for the ‘averag’ shooter and this report didn’t really relate to that.

  10. “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home”
    A,. Kellerman MD, PhD NEJM, 1993 Oct. 7

    “Protection or Peril”
    A. Kellerman MD, PhD, NEJM 1986, June 12

    Both lacked adequate controls. Both ignored the criminal history of the perps. The later counted as valid self defense only cases where a home-owner caused a fatal injury to an intruder. Forget any other parameter – that was all that was counted.
    These were BS on stilts – and CDC funded.

    Mike, do you wear earplugs when you shoot? If so, why?
    Ever been around suppressed rifles? If so, go ahead and try to claim you did not want one. I dare you.

  11. I wear hearing protection when I am using my indoor range for lessons or certifications. I hunted probably 150 times between 1968 and 2008, antelope in TX, elk in WY, moose and bear in ME, white tail up and down the East Coast and hi-flyers in NY and MA coastlines. I never wore hearing protection when I hunted and the current argument for silencers is being made by people who say that it will protect the hearing of hunters. Nonsense.
    Kellerman corrected his definitions of the 1993 article in a 1994 article. His work is valid and even of it isn’t, you don’t make it better or understand the issue better by ending research.
    Gary Kleck got money from DOJ to do a study of whether guns provided more protection than other types of defensive behavior in cases of sexual assault. He found that a gun made no difference. Funny, but the NRA never mentions that piece of research and neither does Gary, whom I happen to know quite well.
    I never said that gun violence research was necessarily well done and I have criticized many research efforts by public health scholars both on this website and in my weekly Huffington columns so I’m not afraid to call a spade a spade, so to speak. But what I won’t do is react to poorly-done research by saying that we should ban research. You do it better.
    On the other hand, you and other pro-gun advocates seem to feel that the basic arguments about the ‘value’ of armed, self-defense, protection of the 2nd Amendment and all the other bullshit thrown out there by Gun-nut Nation to simply promote the fortunes of the gun industry doesn’t need to be shown as true with any research at all. After all, we are ‘free’ because we can own guns, so that’s the end of that, right? How is it that you can only find examples of how the gun grabbers ‘distort’ or ‘ignore’ evidence?

  12. Ha ha. Just because I think Kellerman is full of shi t doesn’t mean I do not think the same thing about J. Lott.
    In an above post, I tried to put forward what I really think: The data signals are not honestly strong enough to base policy on. They probably never will be, because policies (laws) about guns are enforced only vaguely in the best of times and people lie to researchers about anything personal on a grand scale.
    I know this with more precision than anyone you will ever meet. I make my living doing forensic digital analysis of individual medical records – both when outcomes are bad and as random surveillance for quality assurance purposes for a nation-wide practice.
    People lie about their smoking, drinking, and drugging habits to health care providers more often than they tell the truth. I have search engines on my desk computer that most folks do not have and therefore it can be trivially easy to sort out the real story on someone. The real story is that people lie about almost anything they think will cause them any liability or embarrassment. I am more than sure that is the same with guns. There is even less reason to be truthful to a stranger writing on a clip board regarding gun ownership than an actual known risk to (your own) health.

    Likewise, I do not believe the increased threat posed by silenter (135db) guns versus 160db guns is large enough to even measure in the real world, much less use as a basis for making felony criminal laws against quiter guns. Which, btw, the NFA did in 1934. I mean, how much “research” preceded the 1934 law on silencers? What I remember is that they just listened to some good old boys ramble on about the subject.
    Meanwhile, the benefits of putting suppressors on guns can be and often is easily measured and quantified. Audiology is a sophisticated field these days and damage to hearing can be analyzed by testing and get results about a 1,000 times more meaningful than asking old guys like us how our hearing is holding up.
    The Short Answer: Damage to hearing is related to gun shots in a hard to predict manner. If you get testing, it will help you understand how close to the edge of destruction you are living at. The last little bit can go quickly,.

  13. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:
    The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health.
    by mikethegunguy
    Since I registered for Medicare, a week doesn’t go by when I don’t receive something in the mail offering a hearing aid at a reduced ‘special for seniors’ price. So when I found out about a new federal bill called the Hearing Protection Act, I got really excited because I figured that the Congress was going to make it easier and cheaper for me to start hearing again.

  14. Pingback: The Gun Industry Comes Up With A New Product For Your Health. | Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning"

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