Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) recently introduced a new bill that bans the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer and even the possession of gun silencers.
Menendez blames suppressors, claiming they helped the suspect in Virginia Beach’s mass shooting killed 12 people. He explained, “The sound of gunshots is what tells you that your life is [in] danger, and that it’s time to run, hide, take cover, call the police and help others save themselves. At the end of the day if you can hear a weapon you might just save a life.”
Despite experts stating that the Virginia Beach shooter’s suppressor, “likely had no bearing on his ability to kill so many people in so little time,” according to the Associated Press. Suppressors can reduce the noise of a .45 ACP pistol (the same weapon used in a shooting), from 157 decibels to about 127 decibels. 127 decibels is still louder than a siren or thunderclap.
But Menendez believes different. He seems to suggest had the gun sounds been louder, some victims might have been able to live, despite having no evidence to support his theory.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) who cosponsored the bill, and contends that no one has a real reason to own a suppressor. “The only people who could reasonably oppose a ban on gun silencers are criminals trying to avoid detection by law enforcement or mass murderers trying to hurt as many people as possible…Whether a firearm is being used in a mugging or a massacre, the sound of a gunshot is a warning that helps bystanders get to safety and allows law enforcement to track and apprehend the shooter,” he stated.
There are almost 1.5 million legal suppressors owned by Americans. These Americans have paid a $200 tax, passed a background check that can take up to 10 months, and according to the data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, only .003 % of silencers are used in crimes each year.
But according to Menedez, every silencer has the potential to be used in a weapon.
The bill is called Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act, would not just ban the new sales of suppressors but also make it illegal for current owners to hold on to their suppressor. This means those who continue to possess suppressors after the 90-day grace period will either go to prison for up to five years or pay up to $250,000.