Supreme Court lets a good gun law stand

Gun Rights

EDITORIAL (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press) Quiet guns are a threat to the public. A quiet Supreme Court, on the other hand, should come as a source of relief. In an encouraging decision Monday, justices declined to hear a challenge to a federal gun law that restricts access to so-called silencers, the sound-dampening devices attached to guns that make gunshots harder to recognize. The court didn’t explain its reasoning, but the bottom line is that the 1934 law will remain in force. And by doing nothing, the justices provided at least a glimmer of hope that common sense on guns might prevail at the Supreme Court in the future. The court turned aside an appeal involving two men convicted of violating federal firearms laws: the owner of a Chanute, Kan., army surplus store who sold unregistered handmade silencers, and a customer who bought one. The men had challenged the 1934 National Firearms Act, which regulates civilian ownership of machine guns, short-barreled rifles, silencers, mortars, and bazookas , claiming that the silencer restrictions violated their Second Amendment rights. Silencers don’t actually silence weapons, like in the movies. But they do change the way gunfire sounds — with potentially deadly consequences. Gun control groups say they could reduce the effectiveness of ShotSpotter acoustical shot-recognition programs, like Boston’s, that can quickly alert police to shootings and help track down shooters. They can also confuse the human ear, making it harder to know when — and in which direction — to run in the event […]

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