Yesterday an employee of the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee used two handguns to murder five people before committing suicide. It’s been widely reported that one of the two pistols was equipped with a suppressor.
This from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The shooter was armed with two handguns, one with a silencer, according to a police source. Silencers or suppressors are legal in 42 states, including Wisconsin. They must be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act. According to the latest report from the ATF, more than 29,333 are registered in the state.
Crime involving the devices is relatively rare, according to an often-cited study that said about 150 cases involving silencers were prosecuted in federal court from 1995 to 2004.
You may remember that the shooter in Virginia Beach also used a suppressor. That resulted in a move to outlaw silencers in Virginia. A bill that would have done just that (along with outlawing “assault weapon” sales) was killed for the current legislative session and won’t be considered again until next year.
A federal suppressor ban bill that would have outlawed possession was also introduced, but it went nowhere.
The choice of the Milwaukee murderer to use one suppressed pistol and one without was an odd one. Obviously any perceived advantage of suppression goes away when firing the un-suppressed firearm.
So will another high profile shooting that involved a “silencer” result in more calls and a bigger push to outlaw these common sense safety devices?
Count on it. The fact that a suppressor was used in Milwaukee provides just the hook civilian disarmament types need to gain some traction again and push for a new ban.
Remember that in the aftermath of the Virginia Beach shooting, President Trump was in Britain and told Piers Morgan that he intended to “seriously look at” outlawing suppressor sales.
The POTUS discusses gun violence with @piersmorgan. He says unarmed civilians are ‘sitting ducks’ and don’t stand a chance when faced with ‘bad guys’ with guns.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 5, 2019
More recently . . .
Joe Biden ratcheted up the Democrat Party’s attacks on the Second Amendment:
Biden: ban “assault weapons” & “get those clips that have multiple bullets in them not for sale, not be able to sell silencers, all those things.”
This is a broadside on every law abiding American. pic.twitter.com/NDA0YYVlQv
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 21, 2020
This being an election year, after Milwaukee, look for more members of the congressional civilian disarmament caucus to join ol’ Uncle Joe in calling for banning civilian suppressor sales and submit a new bill to do just that.
Trump has shown that he’s susceptible to these appeals for “common sense” gun control in the aftermath of a tragedy. Following the Las Vegas shooting, he apparently made the calculation that in order to DO SOMETHING, outlawing bump fire stocks would win him points with his political opponents and the media.
After the Virginia Beach shooting, @realDonaldTrump said he opposed the availability of silencers. Yet his administration – and Congress – have done absolutely nothing to stop their proliferation. https://t.co/jU1w9LWsG7 https://t.co/8xxDvS9tUJ
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 27, 2020
It didn’t. It never does. All that resulted from reclassifying bump stocks as machine guns was to anger an important part of his base; millions of law-abiding gun owners, many of whom didn’t even own a bump stock. They saw it as a step down a dangerous, slippery slope.
Will Trump fall for the same thing again, this time a mere eight months from an election?