By: Robert Davis
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has refused to hear two cases that challenge the regulation of suppressors, more commonly known as silencers, under the 1937 National Firearms Act.
The cases raise questions regarding the scope of the Second Amendment and Congress’ constitutional authority to levy taxes.
The SCOTUS decision came just days after authorities in Virginia Beach discovered that the gunman who killed 12 people at the town municipal center used a silencer.
"Without comment or dissent, the justices turned away petitions from the operator of a Kansas army-surplus store and one of his customers who purchased an unregistered silencer in violation of federal law," USA Today reports.
Gun rights advocates have asked President Trump to intervene by promising to support gun-friendly legislation. Instead, Trump told anti-gun pundit Piers Morgan that he would look into banning suppressors in the United States during his most recent visit to London.
Townhall reported on the conversation Morgan had with Trump:
"I want to pay you credit for this because when we spoke in Davos after the Las Vegas mass shooting I brought up the issue of bump fire stock and why it was legal and why it was used to convert legal ones to illegal ones," Morgan said.
"Right, right," Trump said.
"And you did ban bump fire–" Morgan said.
"I ended it," Trump said.
"I don't think you got enough credit for that," Morgan said. "We've seen another massacre in Virginia Beach where the shooter used a silencer. What is your view–"
"I don't like it," Trump said.
"–on silencers?" Morgan asked.
"I don't like it," Trump replied.
"Would you like to see those banned?" Morgan asked.
“Well, I’d like to think about it," Trump told Morgan during an interview. "No one's talking 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 of what's happening. It's crazy. It's crazy, okay? What's going on with schools and not only in our country, but again–"
“Yet again, the President who campaigned as a fighter for the Second Amendment is on camera kowtowing to the liberal media with an attack on the Second Amendment,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), said in a press release obtained by Gunpowder Magazine. “When will President Trump finally realize that attacking the very Second Amendment supporters who propelled him to the White House in 2016 is NOT a wise strategy for 2020?”
Both cases arose from the same transaction in Kentucky, where a disabled veteran named Jeremy Kettler purchased a silencer from a military surplus store owned and operated by another veteran named Shane Cox. Neither Kettler nor Cox registered the silencer with federal authorities, as required by law; they were subsequently charged with purchasing and selling unregistered silencers. Both men received probation for their charges.
Kettler and Cox both appealed their charges in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the case overextends Congress’ ability to levy taxes, a power granted to the body by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The Court rejected their argument, prompting an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Trump administration filed legal briefs asking the Supreme Court to reject the case as well, even though a handful of red states wanted the Court to review the case.
“If President Trump abandons gun owners again, I’m afraid the alternative we might end up with come 2021 will be far worse,” Brown said.
President Trump campaigned on protecting the Second Amendment rights of every gun owner. But, since he assumed office, he has been an inconsistent “friend and champion” to gun owners, as he promised the National Rifle Association he would be.
Early into his tenure, President Trump signed a proclamation blocking an Obama-era rule that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
After the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas that killed nearly 60 people at the Route 94 Country Music Festival, however, President Trump supported banning bump stocks.
Now, he’s telling the media he would support legislation to ban suppressors as well.
“We need to nip this bad idea in the bud before it gets out of hand,” Brown said.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can reach him at RobertDavis0414@gmail.com.