We told you last week how Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank turned an op-ed on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act into a fake news hit piece on firearm suppressors. But Milbank’s column was so egregious in so many ways that we believe a look at some of his other hyperbole is in order.
Recall that the headline read, “The NRA’s idea of recreation: Assault rifles, armor-piercing bullets and silencers.” And Milbank lead off the story with this jewel: “The days are growing colder, and soon millions of American hunters will pursue a time-honored tradition. They will load their automatic weapons with armor-piercing bullets, strap on silencers, head off to the picnic grounds on nearby public lakes—and start shooting.”
Well, he got the first part right: The days are getting a little colder. And there’s no doubt millions of American hunters, including myself, will be pursuing a time-honored tradition in the fields, forests and marshes throughout the country.
But that’s about all Milbank got right.
In fact, [automatic weapons] are heavily regulated under the National Firearms Act, and nothing in the SHARE Act would change that fact.Let’s start with “automatic weapons,” which are already not legal for hunting in most American states. In fact, they are heavily regulated under the National Firearms Act, and nothing in the SHARE Act would change that fact.
And how about “armor piercing bullets”? As NRA-ILA pointed out in a recent fact-checking feature on this same Post op-ed: “The current interpretation of the federal law on ‘armor piercing ammunition’ substantially limits the availability of certain non-toxic projectiles for hunting ammunition. The law, as originally passed by Congress in 1986, was never meant to apply to projectiles that were intended for use in a rifle or shotgun. The SHARE Act simply clarifies congressional intent and ensures that the law is not misinterpreted by future administrations.”
Next come the “silencers,” which we addressed last time. But we will repeat a couple of important points: On average, suppressors transmute a 165 dB sound into a 135 dB sound. Or, put another way, they change the volume from one that is akin to a jet engine into one that is akin to a jackhammer.
The Hearing Protection Act, now included in the SHARE Act, represents little more than a modest and benign update to what is an outdated and irrational law. Currently, Americans who want to add a suppressor to their gun must pay a $200 tax to the treasury and submit to a six- to eight-month background check process. If the HPA passes, those requirements will be repealed, and the federal government will cease to intrude in the 42 states in which suppressors are legal.
And as we mentioned, Milbank’s own newspaper already debunked his talking points back in March, six months before he wrote his rant.As for heading off to the “picnic grounds” of a public lake and proceeding to “start shooting,” I’m sure Milbank knows that’s simply balderdash, too. Laws restrict hunting and recreational shooting to designated areas on most public lands, and picnic areas are typically closed for such activity. It’s more likely Milbank is taking a swipe at the Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act, which is included in the SHARE Act.
Since 2009, federal law has recognized the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms for self-defense when camping or hiking on National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System lands by incorporating the firearm carry laws of the states in which the lands are located. This part of the SHARE Act would extend that same rule to the 11.7 million acres of land administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which includes 400 lakes and river projects, 90,000 campsites and 4,000 miles of trails where sportsmen and women are currently left defenseless.
In the end, Milbank comes down solidly in the corner of other anti-gun advocates who don’t have a leg of truth to stand on when making their lame arguments. Resorting to such hyperbole doesn’t make Milbank funny or clever—it just reveals the fact that he doesn’t have facts on his side.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for 17 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.