By: Teresa Mull
When asked earlier today if he were in favor of restricting the sale of suppressors, President Trump responded, “I don’t like them at all.”
The question came in response to the news DeWayne Craddock used a suppressor on his weapon when he opened fire at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center last week, killing 12 people before being shot and killed by police.
Suppressors, also called silencers, are legal in Virginia, though the City of Virginia Beach outlaws them.
“While authorities said the suspected shooter legally bought multiple firearms recently, they have not yet said how he got a suppressor,” USA Today reports.
“A suppressor does not alter the lethality of the weapon at all,” Gregory Shaffer, a retired FBI agent who was a member of the bureau’s elite Hostage Response Team, told USA Today. “All it does is just limit the noise it makes. It doesn’t increase the rate of fire. It doesn’t do anything other than make it more comfortable to shoot because it’s not so loud.”
The Trump administration has already enacted accessory-related gun control at the federal level when it banned bump stocks earlier this year.
It seems not every member of the Trump family is opposed to silencers, however. The Daily Beast notes Donald Trump Jr. made a video in September 2016 “in which he fired a silencer-equipped automatic (sic) pistol…”
Donald Trump Jr. is heard to say in the video, which you can watch below, “I think it's awesome! … I love your product. I can’t use it in the People's Republic of New York.”
The NRA, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), and Gun Owners of America (GOA) have all spoken out against the unconstitutional restriction of suppressors.
“President Trump’s condemnation of suppressors is nothing more than a typical, knee-jerk reaction to placate the public in the wake of tragedy,” Dudley Brown, NAGR President, told Gunpowder Magazine. “Silencers are not responsible for gun violence – gun free zones and gun control are what make innocent people sitting ducks for crazed killers. Not only does the government have zero Constitutional authority to regulate firearms and accessories, doing so will do nothing to increase the safety of our society."
“GOA is opposed to the National Firearms Act and its current restrictions on suppressors, and GOA will oppose any effort to further regulate or ban them,” Erich Pratt GOA Executive Director, told GPM. “Suppressors are safety devices that act more like a car muffler, rather than the Hollywood notion of a 'silencer.' Not surprisingly, witnesses in Virginia Beach reported that they 'heard' the gunshots, which is a clear indication that the myth of the silencer is just that — a myth.
"Suppressors don’t reduce the sound to a whisper as so deceptively portrayed in many movies," Pratt continued. "But they are a health benefit, which is why the CDC recommends that people use suppressors to protect their hearing."
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.