U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, argues in a recent video about potential suppressor deregulation that it would be a danger to public safety.
In a two-minute video short published by the Huffington Post this week, Murphy attacks the pending Hearing Protection Act as a piece of legislative charity to a flagging gun industry.
“It will be a boon to the industry, but it will be terrible for the country,” says Murphy. “Silencers are used to commit crimes. They are used to conceal the fact that you are firing a weapon. There will be more crimes committed– more people killed– if silencers are legalized.”
Murphy later closes the clip by saying, “The gun industry will do better, but lives will be lost.”
The thing is, suppressors are legal, and according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, there are 1,297,670 suppressors registered with ATF under the National Firearms Act. The pending legislation simply aims to remove them from NFA regulation, but they would still be treated as a firearm and could only be transferred after a successful federal background check. Further, individual states such as California and Illinois ban civilian ownership of the devices.
As for their use in crime, a recently released internal policy paper drafted by the ATF’s associate deputy director and chief operating officer Ronald B. Turk refutes that.
“Silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings,” Turk writes. “Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety.”