An NPR overview of the current push to deregulate firearm suppressors counters the gun controllers’ doomsday claims by pointing to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) figures that show suppressors “are seldom used in crime.”
NPR referenced the ATF figures right after quoting David Chipman, adviser to former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ gun control group. Chipman suggested the effort to remove suppressors from the auspices of the National Firearms Act (NFA) is “reckless.” He said such deregulation “[is] a threat to public safety.”
Chipman also claimed a suppressor allows criminals to avoid police detection. He said, “an active shooter to not give away their location.”
It is interesting to note that Chipman said these things just over a week after Giffords’ gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, tweeted that suppressor deregulation would “[make] it easier” for active shooters to avoid detection by “trained law enforcement officials.”
FACT: Silencers do not protect your hearing. pic.twitter.com/EXe8e4VgmY
— ARS (@resp_solutions) March 13, 2017
Missing from these claims is the fact that suppressors are already ubiquitous. There are “nearly a million” suppressors in private ownership right now. But ATF figures quoted by NPR show that suppressors “are seldom used in crime.” For example, “From 2012-15, 390 [suppressors] were recovered from crime scenes where an ATF trace was requested. During that same period, more than 600,000 pistols were recovered.”
On February 6, 2017, Breitbart News reported that ATF Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk suggested the current method of regulating suppressors is “archaic.” In a paper published by the Washington Post, Turk explained that suppressors are widely used for hunting and sport and, therefore, face increasing demand:
In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized. At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country.
At a time when Republican House members are pushing to remove suppressors from NFA regulation, Turk added:
While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.