Since the horrific Newtown shooting, where 20 children were gunned down by a semi-automatic rifle, the NRA’s reaction has been swift and defensive. It’s video games, they say. It’s movies, they say. It’s not about the guns, they say, it’s about the fact that a bunch of crazy people have guns. Oh, wait.
Well, the NRA isn’t completely deaf to the needs of the children. In fact, they are creating a special campaign designed around the little folk: silencers, to protect their hearing — because the noise is what’s really dangerous about guns.
If there were every any doubt that the NRA was simply a marketing arm of gun manufacturers, this campaign should lay that doubt to rest. From Salon:
It should surprise no one that the NRA has recently thrown its weight behind an industry campaign to deregulate and promote the use of silencers. Under the trade banner of the American Silencer Association, manufacturers have come together with the support of the NRA to rebrand the silencer as a safety device belonging in every all-American gun closet. To nurture this potentially large and untapped market, the ASA last April sponsored the first annual all-silencer gun shoot and trade show in Dallas. America’s silencer makers are each doing their part. SWR Suppressors is asking survivalists to send a picture of their “bugout bag” for a chance to win an assault rifle silencer. The firm Silencero — “We Dig Suppressors and What They Do” — has put together a helpful “Silencers Are Legal” website and produced a series of would-be viral videos featuring this asshole.
In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, the gun lobby’s grand strategy rests grotesquely on fake concern for child hearing health. Among the opening shots in the campaign was a feature in the February 2011 issue of Gun World, “Silence is Golden,” penned by the veteran gun writer Jim Dickson. “One only has to look at children in the rest of the world learning to shoot with silencers, protecting their tender young ears, to see what an innocent safety device we are talking about here,” writes Dickson. “To use an overworked propaganda phrase, legalize silencers ‘for the sake of the children.’” [...]
“Billions of dollars are spent every year in our healthcare system for hearing loss conditions, such as shooting-related tinnitus,” explained the NRA. It was a very important point that had long been overlooked in the gun control debate; because if there is a single pressing gun safety issue in America today, it is the hearing, comfort and convenience of recreational shooters who find orange earplugs unsightly. The NRA is also extremely concerned about the fright children may receive from shooting or standing near the reports of high-caliber weapons. These jolts could have a lasting and detrimental developmental impact, possibly imbuing America’s impressionable and tender young brains with the notion that guns are loud, dangerous things. The NRA firmly believes that American freedom is best served by giving 9mm gunfire the feel and sound of a toy cap gun. As the NRA’s Lacey Biles put it during last April’s Dallas Silencer Shoot, silencers are good for “getting younger folks involved [in guns]. They’re less afraid of the loud bang.”
As weaponry goes, silencers (or suppressors, because they don’t actually silence anything) are relatively difficult to buy, but still, most people would have no problem acquiring them. What are the practical uses for silencers (other than for movie props)? Police like them for inside use, but they still wear ear protection. Many hunters feel that Bambi has too much of an advantage against bullets that fly faster than sound, so they try to take the sport completely out of the sport of hunting by muffling the sound of the rifle.
As high-capacity ammunition and semi-automatic rifles may become more difficult to purchase, gun manufacturers and the NRA have to recoup the money somewhere, so why not through silencers? Just this Tuesday, Wyoming advanced a gun silencer bill.
But what about the children? Even I’m not cynical enough to believe that the NRA is talking about children who are actually victims of gun violence. Nope, the NRA has bigger plans than that. First off, they want to arm all the children. The want to make their shootin’ experience fun, not ear shattering. We should always remember that guns are first and foremost toys (or so most gun lovers believe). Kids might get scared if they hear the full sound of a gun. And we sure don’t want to turn off the little kids. Who knows, the next Wayne LaPierre might be ready to take her first shot.
|Wendy Gittleson is a seasoned writer, a dog lover and an avid political junkie. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. In her rare down times, you’ll find her somewhere in the mountains or near the beach. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson|