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Legislation Would Make Silencers Easier To Get

House of Representatives Photo

The debate over curbing gun violence has taken a new urgency in the wake of several recent shootings.

But one Virginia congressman is hoping to make silencers easier to get.

Republican Congressman Bob Good of Lynchburg has introduced a bill he calls the SHUSH Act, which would deregulate silencers at the federal level and preempt state laws.

Phillip Van Cleve at the Virginia Citizens Defense League says this would allow people to get suppressors without getting a background check, which he says is unnecessary.  "There's a couple of things that are wrong with it. It's not the gun. It's an accoutrement. It's not the gun. It's an add-on to a gun," Van Cleve adgues. "Number two, they're easy to make. You can literally stick a Coke bottle or whatever on the end of it and you can get one or two shots out of the end of it that are highly suppressed."

Lori Haas at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence says deregulating silencers and making them available without a background check would be a dangerous mistake.  "It's important to have background checks on firearms and accessories because there are prohibited people, and the only way to stop prohibited people is through a background check."

Haas says preventing gun violence should be a priority.

Congressman Good says constitutional rights should not be put at risk because of public opinion. His bill already has nine Republican co-sponsors, although it seems unlikely to pass the Democratically controlled House of Representatives.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.