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President Trump Could Alienate Sportsmen, Gun Owners With Further Ban on Suppressors

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

During an interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, President Trump said he may take action on banning suppressors further following the Virginia Beach mass shooting, in which the shooter used an allegedly legally-purchased suppressor. Earlier this week, Trump said he didn’t like suppressors at all.

Hear more on the president’s comments on the subject:

“I don’t like it. I don’t like it,” Trump said.

“Would you like to see those banned?” Morgan asked.

“Well, I’d like to think about it,” Trump said. “Nobody’s talked about silencers very much. They did talk about the bump stock and we had it banned. And we’re looking at that. I’m going to seriously look at it. I don’t love the idea of it. I don’t like the idea. What’s happening is crazy, okay? It’s crazy.”

Washington Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski explained how suppressors are currently regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934:

Silencers, often called suppressors by those in the industry, can reduce the sound of gunshots from levels instantly damaging without hearing protection to levels closer to that of a jackhammer or jet engine. Despite depictions in movies and other entertainment media, the devices do not make the gunshots inaudible.

Under current federal law, silencers are strictly regulated in the same way machine guns and short-barreled shotguns are regulated. Anyone looking to legally purchase a silencer must pay a $200 tax, pass a background check, and register it with the federal government. A handful of states had also completely banned the devices.

According to Gutowski, both the National Rifle Association and Firearms Policy Coalition said they would oppose any proposed bans on suppressors.

“The NRA opposes a suppressor ban,” Jennifer Baker, a spokesperson for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said. “Contrary to the misinformation being spread by the mainstream media, suppressors do not “silence” the sound of a firearm. Not only do suppressors reduce hearing damage for the shooter, they reduce the noise of ranges located near residential areas.”

“FPC’s position is that firearm components like suppressors are not only constitutionally protected instruments that should be completely accessible to all law-abiding people throughout the United States, they are important personal safety equipment,” Brandon Combs, president of the group, said. “Once more we see President Trump speaking as if our government has only one branch, just like he did with his fiat ban on bump-stock devices. Our legal teams are working towards filing petitions for certiorari with the Supreme Court. We remain absolutely committed to restoring the Constitution’s limits on executive power and protecting the rights and property of the People.”

Last month, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Kenneth Charles “Chuck” Canterbury, Jr., longtime president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, as the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE)— who would be directed to take action on suppressors. Mr. Canterbury has received support from both the National Shooting Sports Foundation and American Suppressor Association.

Suppressors are highly regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Past efforts to deregulate suppressors, in the form of the Hearing Protection Act, failed to pass during the Republican-controlled 115th Congress. Another version of the bill was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC).

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