"Could have"

Discussion in 'National Laws, Bills and Politics' started by Malum Prohibitum, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    "Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Regan contends that ... [Crooker] could have used the device to muffle the report of a regular gun..."

    I believe the operative term here is "could have." I could rob a bank, but until I do, I can't be prosecuted for such, can I?

    Man prosecuted for air rifle silencer:
    http://www.masslive.com/hampfrank/repub ... xml&coll=1
     
  2. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    Also the dubious testimony of "experts" at the ATF.

    They rigged the silencer to a .22 rifle but did not record the db reduction from that rigged silencer, instead using a misleading mathamatical model. They should have just recorded the regular ruger shot sound level then record the rigged silencer shot sound level from the same gun.

    If I were the judge I would have 2 questions. Was any gunpowder found in the silencer and was there a firearm that could have fired it. The article pretty much says the answer to both of those is no, then case dismissed.
     

  3. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    gs1, while I'm all for repealing or overturning the NFA, I don't think the law, as written, requires that the silencer be used (gunpowder residue) or that the possessor of the silencer have a weapon capable of using it.
     
  4. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Two Comments

    Didn't the article say that BATFE did actually fit the airgun silencer to a .22 firearm and shoot it and did record the reduction in sound signature? I thought that the only "mathematical calcualtion" issue was in the government's claim that with the suppressor in use, the .22 was "one hundred times quieter" than without. Even if technically true, it is due to the exponential nature of decibel ratings, which may not correspond to how the human ear perceives the sound.

    But in the big picture, if we're going to have a federal law restricting silencers, we ought not to allow a loophole for silencers that are "designed for" airguns which would also work very well on real firearms. That would totally gut the law. "Airgun silencers" would be sold at every gun shop, and mail-order, and to youths through internet commerce, and those suppressors would be designed to work with a variety of firearms as well as airguns.

    The only kind of "airgun suppressor" that should not come under the regulations of the NFA is one that does not significantly reduce the sound signature of a real firearm, for cannot do so for more than one shot without having to be repaired, rebuilt, or re-packed. Perhaps if such a suppressor were made with flimsy materials that would shatter with the muzzle blast and pressure from even a .22 CB Long cartridge, but would withstand the pressure from a Beeman R1 pushing a .22 pellet at 800 fps.... then the manufacturer ought to be able to apply for a waiver from BATFE, delcaring that their product is not really a firearm silencer.
     
  5. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    gunsmoker,

    You raise some very good points. I think the article did say that the sound was 100 times quieter. I assume that means the measured sound reduction was 20 decibels (20 decibels is a factor of 100), which is decent for a suppressor, but not great. The misleading thing about saying "100 times quieter" is that it might cause one to infer that something then sounds 100 times quieter. Subjective tests show that people perceive a 10 decibel increase or decrease (i.e., a 10-fold change in sound power) to "sound like" a doubling or halving of the volume.

    I likewise agree with your statements regarding the effectiveness of the law. It is ridiculous that suppressors are "firearms" under federal law, and that their possession is regulated. But, the law would be meaningless (or at least changed to one of use rather than possession) if one could buy an airgun suppressor and use it on a (real) firearm. A suppressor for a larger caliber always can be used on a smaller caliber (it just won't be as effective). So, somebody could develop a 50-caliber airgun of some sort, sell a suppressor for it, and said suppressor would work to some extent on anything smaller.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    similar issue

    Years ago, the question came up about what was the difference between a bomb-- legally "destructive device" -- and just a home-made firecracker? Somebody took some ordinary gun powder and put it in a folded-over toilet tissue tube, stuck a wick in it, taped it closed, and got caught with it. He said it was a harmless firecracker-- as harmless as many varieties of common Class "C" household fireworks. The government said that it was capable of exploding, and under just the right conditions it could injure a person or damage property, and that made it an illegal bomb. The courts held that if it had ANY explosive properties, however slight, and if the explosion could in theory cause any amount of injury or any measurable property damage, it was a bomb and the guy committed a major felony by making it.

    It wouldn't have mattered if the defendant had offered to put on a leather glove and detonate this device in his open palm, suffering nothing worse than burning the hairs on his forearm. Since it would cause him "injury" if he were to stick it in his mouth and light it, and since it could cause "property damage" if he were to toss it into a barn's hayloft--- it's a bomb.
     
  7. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Airgun Calibers

    They already have 9mm airguns. And of course plenty of .22 airguns. The most popular airgun caliber is still .177, but now we have a very popular firearm cartridge in that caliber-- the .17 Mach 2 and the .17 Horndady Magnum Rimfire. So if there were a loophole in the silencer law that exempted airgun silencers, companies could make very high-quality suppressors made out of the same components that real ones are made of (aluminum, steel, titanium) in exactly the right calibers to achieve maximum sound suppression (around 40 decibels).

    P.S. Paintball guns fire .68 caliber balls, and that might be the basis for a so-called "paintball silencer" that would be marginally effective at suppressing the signature of various .45 and .50 firearms, and maybe even a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun (fired with slugs of course).
     
  8. Gunstar1

    Gunstar1 Administrator

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    Yeah, I forgot about the silencer is a firearm. Just like duct tape and a shoe string can be a firearm.

    However from the story:
    From that I gathered that they calculated the potential reduction mathmatically then rigged the silencer to a pistol and shot it, but did not measure the actual sound from that shot. If they did then they would have a measure of what a person would actually hear.
     
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    They should have to do that in front of the jury, so the jury can hear it for themselves!
     
  10. jrm

    jrm Sledgehammer

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    gunstar1, I inferred a different scenario (but I concede yours could be the correct one, based on the article). I thought the investigator testifed on direct that they measured the sound reduction and it was reduced by a factor of 100 times. Then, the defense attorney that knew something about the logarithmic nature of decibels and human perception of sound, got the investigator to admit on cross examination that, even though the mathematical reduction of sound power was 100 times, the perceived reduction in sound by humans would be less significant.
     
  11. tj2000

    tj2000 New Member

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    Silenced!!!!!

    I think that if the ATF Ghost's were to get wind that a 2 liter bottle attached to a 22 cal. would reduce the noise significantly they would get search warrents for all of america and confinscate all our refridgiraters and put all of us in jail.
    Hmmm, wonder what I could get a nice reward for tuning all of us in?
    Just a thought.
    Take care and be safe,
    TJ