I read with interest the May 9 column “Feeling homicidal? OK, here have a gun.”
Regarding the section where the writer ranted about silencers, the United States is one of the few countries that regulate silencers (more technically accurate, suppressors). Most Western European countries do not regulate suppressors. Someone can go down to the local gun shop and buy a suppressor with less paperwork than required to purchase a firearm.
In the United States, purchase and possession of a suppressor are tightly regulated by the Gun Control Act of 1968, with penalties of up to 10 years incarceration and $250,000 fines for a violation.
To purchase a suppressor, someone must go to a federal licensed Class III dealer, buy and complete registration paperwork, which then must be taken to a local law enforcement office where the buyer must be finger-printed, background-checked and photographed.
If approved, he then pays a $200 nonrefundable tax stamp fee and mails the forms to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and then waits eight to 12 months for the paperwork to be approved. Only then can he go back to the dealer with approved paperwork and pick up a suppressor.