RICHMOND, VA — This morning the Virginia House Public Safety Committee voted 12 – 9 in favor of passing an amended version of House Bill 961. Knox Williams, President of the American Suppressor Association, was on hand to testify in opposition. The vote took place on party lines, with the exception of Delegate Joshua Cole (D-28), who abstained. Now that the bill has passed committee, the House of Delegates will have until Tuesday, February 11th to pass this legislation prior to the crossover deadline.
The amended version of HB 961 makes several key concessions regarding suppressors. Chief among them is that lawfully obtained suppressors in Virginia will no longer be subject to confiscation. That means, should the bill become law, anyone who possesses a suppressor in the state prior to July 1st would be able to keep them. ASA spoke with legislators who said that the educational groundwork laid by the Association over the past month – including meetings with every member of the committee or their staff – was a key factor in their decision to amend the suppressor provisions of the bill. While this is a step in the right direction, HB 961 remains a bill that we oppose.
When asked during the hearing by Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11) to clarify our stance on the bill, Williams made the following statement:
“Our position is essentially that these have been heavily federally regulated since 1934 and that those federal regulations are more than exhaustive; that additional state level regulations should not be imposed upon suppressors.”
ASA would like to thank Chairman Patrick Hope (D-47) for granting us time during the hearing to provide expert testimony to the committee.
The new language, which was not made available until several minutes into Delegate Mark Levine’s (D-45) opening testimony, reads:
18.2-308.11. Import, sale, transfer, etc., of silencers; penalty.
- For purposes of this section, “silencer” means any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a firearm, including any part or combination of parts designed or intended for use in assembling or fabricating such a device.
- It is unlawful for any person to import, sell, transfer, manufacture, or purchase a silencer, provided that a person may transfer a silencer in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms Act (26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.). A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 6 felony.
- The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) any government officer, agent, or employee, or member of the Armed Forces of the United States, to the extent that such person is otherwise authorized to acquire a silencer and does so while acting within the scope of his duties; (ii) the manufacture of a silencer by a firearms manufacturer for the purpose of sale to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees, provided that the manufacturer is properly licensed under federal, state, and local laws; or (iii) the sale or transfer of a silencer to any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or to a law-enforcement agency in the Commonwealth for use by that agency or its employees.
About the American Suppressor Association
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is the unified voice of the suppressor community. We exist for one reason and one reason only: to fight for pro-suppressor reform nationwide.
Suppressor owners everywhere are being rallied to make their voices heard by joining ASA or buying a raffle ticket during the “Cans Not Bans: Sic Semper Tinnitus” member giveaway. Proceeds support the ASA’s organized opposition to Governor Northam’s unpopular attempt to ban suppressors in the state. Anyone who does so before March 2nd will be entered to win one of 12 prizes. Already an ASA member? As long as your membership is up to date as of March 2nd, you’ll be entered as well!
Membership in the American Suppressor Association amplifies everyone’s voices and provides the necessary funding to stay engaged in this essential fight in Virginia, Washington D.C., and throughout the country. Make no mistake, this fight is about more than just Virginia. If we allow misguided policy to take hold in The Old Dominion, it will spread like wildfire. The American Suppressor Association will do everything in our power to prevent this unacceptable outcome. Visit CansNotBans.com for more details.