From Tucson to Aurora then Newtown and finally, Boston, out of the blue, those with dangerous designs arose to strike and cause incalculable damage to our society by creating mayhem and slaughtering the innocents where they stood.
The killers’ designs went undetected and the deterrent effect of being captured and prosecuted for their crimes did not dissuade the henchmen from their appointed rounds. Like ships passing in the night, we were left in the dark only to realize the magnitude of the problem after the fact.
Obviously, in order to prevent these massacres from occurring, we must learn from the past and each of the above-mentioned events although different in many respects, have much in common. Despite planning murder on a grand scale, the acts of the demons flew under the radar as much of their conduct was legal even though their designs were not. We as a society must analyze our laws and tighten that which can be tightened so as to thwart future attempts at death on display – for all to see.
In the aftermath of these events, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the so-called obvious problems with our laws that allows these slaughters to take place. There has been much debate in regards to gun control, mental health and immigration issues and if we fix them, we will solve our problems. However, these arguments have yielded little in tangible results due to the strongly held beliefs on both sides of the issues whether the beliefs are a result of deeply held personal convictions or constitutional concerns.
This does not mean we should throw in the towel.
Even in the most controversial of subjects, there will always be room for complete agreement and in this arena (when our lives depend upon it), we will find concordance. One need not look any further than Pennsylvania to find a quirk in the law that endangers us all and we as rational citizens of this state can rectify the problem without raising our voices to high and losing sleep over the diminution of our rights.
In Pennsylvania, it is legal for one to own a silencer. As we all know from the movies, these devices muffle the sound of gunfire making it difficult or impossible to hear the gunshot or gunshots. Without this vital information, determining where the shooting is coming from and being able to protect oneself from the gunfire is compromised. Imagine if the shooters at Aurora or Newtown had their guns equipped with silencers and what the carnage could have been? Or even worse, a team of shooters employing their weapons with these devices – the damage would be incalculable. All one has to do to get a silencer in Pennsylvania is to see the county sheriff, pay a small fee for the application and pass a background check. In a blink of an eye, one has a legally possessed silencer – not too comforting a thought.
Now the oddity in the law is that as soon as you attach the silencer to the end of a firearm, it becomes illegal; so one may possess but not use a silencer. However, as we have seen the deterrent effect of illegality will not stop someone who is hell-bent on committing mass murder. Although, the ingenuity of the human mind will always find a way around laws to do that which they please, we should not make it easy on them by giving a clear path to the finish line.
Additionally, is the government not stealing from law-abiding citizens by accepting their money for an item that they may not legally use as it has no common lawful purpose as the one and only purpose it has is illegal? I guess one can use their silencer as a paper weight but wouldn’t it be simpler and cheaper to go to the local supply store?
As stated above, finding a consensus on how to deal with these mass murders is complex and contentious. Reaching an acceptable resolution has proved to be elusive. However, where common sense dictates that a law must be changed to protect us all, we must push forward. Allowing people to purchase and own a silencer in this commonwealth is such a case and I doubt that there will be a lot of pushback on repealing this dubious right.
And while the Pennsylvania General Assembly is taking a look at this law, they may want to take a peek at the law governing possession of body armor. It has a bit of a quirk in it too.