Today, Delegate Mark Levine (D-45) introduced House Bill 961, which seeks to ban the sale of suppressors, standard capacity magazines, and “assault firearms” in Virginia. If enacted as currently drafted, Virginians in lawful possession of suppressors would be required to destroy them, transfer them out of state, or surrender them to state or local law enforcement by January 1st, 2021. Any civilian caught importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting a suppressor after that date would be charged with a Class 6 felony.

 

Any civilian caught importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting a suppressor after that date would be charged with a Class 6 felony.

“The American Suppressor Association is unequivocally opposed to Delegate Levine’s misguided attempt to ban and confiscate suppressors in Virginia,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the ASA. “Plain and simple, suppressors are a tool that help protect hearing. They are not the nefarious devices that anti-gunners want you to believe they are. Banning them won’t make Virginia safer; in fact, it will make shooting more dangerous for the tens of thousands of law-abiding Virginians who use suppressors to protect themselves from preventable hearing damage. That’s why we’re on the ground in Richmond, educating lawmakers about the realities of suppressors. Owning a suppressor is a right, not a privilege, and the American Suppressor Association will do everything in our power to ensure that Virginians don’t lose that right.”

ATF has publicly stated that suppressors “should not be viewed as a threat to public safety.”

HB 961 is built on the misconception that suppressors can render the noise of a gunshot silent or inaudible. This could hardly be further from the truth as even the quietest suppressed gunshot is as loud as a jackhammer striking concrete. Suppressors are not a danger to society and banning them will not save lives.

Today, over 1,750,000 suppressors are owned by law-abiding citizens in the 42 states that now allow suppressor ownership. Virginia is one such state. According to ATF’s most recent report, in May 2019 there were 60,811 lawfully obtained suppressors in circulation in Virginia. Today, there are likely nearly 70,000.

Federal regulations carry enhanced penalties for criminal use. Legally obtained suppressors are used so rarely in crime that ATF has publicly stated that suppressors “should not be viewed as a threat to public safety.”

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