Hollywood has a lot to answer for. For years, American cinemagoers have been led to believe that it is possible to "silence" a firearm simply by attaching a suppressor to the end of its barrel. When James Bond wants to kill somebody without being noticed, he adds a little tube to his Walther and--hey presto!--his shots are undetectable to all but those in the same room. The truth, however, is dramatically different. In the real world, "silencers" are actually "suppressors," and they don't eliminate the sound of a gunshot so much as slightly reduce it--an alteration that is useless to those who hope to kill without being noticed, but extremely useful for frequent shooters who want to protect their hearing. Which is why it is so silly that, since 1934, it has been both expensive (there is a $200 tax per device) and difficult (the federal background check takes almost a year) for Americans to get hold of suppressors, and why, after almost 82 years, Congress has finally taken up the cause of reform. There has never been a good reason for what is essentially a safety device to be so heavily and expensively regulated. But explaining the virtues of change to a public that grew up on spy movies is going to be tough.