https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/ ... olumn.html
If the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been around in the 1930s, gun rights lawyer Stephen Halbrook quipped to The Washington Post, it probably would have mandated their use.
Chicago has a lot of bloodshed, including 762 homicides and more than 3,500 shootings, last year, but silencers figure in little or any of it. Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, told me, "We seldom recover silencers. Sometimes you may get a gun with a makeshift silencer, but even that is rare."
A report last year by the Violence Policy Center cites a handful of shootings in which silencers were used. But the paucity of examples confirms that they are not of great interest to criminals. An earlier study by Paul A. Clark published in the Western Criminology Review found only two federal court cases involving the use of a silencer in a murder between 1995 and 2005.
He also unearthed eight cases in which "a silencer was actively used during commission of a crime but not used to physically injure anyone." That works out to one serious silencer-related crime per year, in a country that in 2005 had 16,740 homicides and 417,000 robberies.
Supporters of the status quo say this merely proves the effectiveness of strict regulation. But improvised versions can be fashioned out of flashlights, oil filters or metal conduits. YouTube has numerous videos providing guidance for the do-it-yourselfer.
If silencers were truly valuable to ordinary criminals, there would undoubtedly be a thriving black market and plenty of crimes committed with them. But the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced only 125 silencers in 2015 — not all of them connected to crimes. As Clark notes, a minimally clever miscreant can get the same noise reduction by wrapping his gun in a towel or pillow.
Any useful technology can be put to villainous ends. But the existing rule on silencers is a major hassle for the law-abiding and an irrelevance to criminals.