Courtesy of Tactical Life

Sound suppressors, or “cans,” are devices appended to a firearm to diminish its noise. We strive mightily to mitigate the racket stemming from automobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers and drunken frat parties, but with firearms, some seem hell-bent on keeping them as noisy as possible. Although sound suppressors unequivocally diminish noise pollution, preserve hearing and generally make you a more neighborly shooter, the prejudices of the uninitiated have conspired to keep these delightful devices out of the hands of most American shooters. There’s a tiny glimmer of hope that might offer some relief from the draconian legislation that governs such stuff. With a new tenant in the Oval Office, gun nerds across our great republic are holding their collective breath to see if the vaunted Hearing Protection Act of 2017 might see the light of day. For the first time in my lifetime, it looks like there might be some substantive pushback against the relentless juggernaut that has been gun-control legislation in America.

Origin Story

It’s Time to Get Loud If You Want the Hearing Protection Act to Pass

Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of famed machine gun inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim, patented the first viable sound suppressor back in 1909. This inspired device threaded onto the angry end of an otherwise conventional firearm and diminished its report upon firing. However, our tale really begins a quarter- century later with a guy named John Herbert Dillinger. Some saw Dillinger as a hero, but he was really a homicidal maniac. These days, we would likely use the word terrorist.

Dillinger and others of his ilk liked guns. At a time when the country was reeling from the Great Depression, tales of wealthy gangsters who flaunted the law were captivating to chronically poor Americans barely making ends meet. These larger-than-life ne’er-do-wells were the Kardashians of the day, drawing the gaze of the downtrodden and becoming nationwide celebrities.

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