What You Should Know About The Gun Silencer Bill Everyone Is Talking About After The Las Vegas Shooting

After a gunman, Stephen Paddock, fatally shot 58 people and injured 515 individuals attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival from a 32nd floor window of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, concern over a GOP-sponsored bill currently being considered that would roll back regulations on gun silencers has only increased.

According to ThinkProgress, witnesses of the Las Vegas shooting described a scene of chaos, with concertgoers and police officers running in all directions since they were unable to pinpoint exactly where the gunshots were originating from. Critics now argue that in the aftermath of this horrific incident, if shooters were able to get the hands on gun silencers more easily, it would make it even more difficult for law enforcement to distinguish where the gunfire is coming from.

Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Monday morning to criticize the deregulation on silencers, especially after the tragedy in Las Vegas. “The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get,” Clinton wrote.

In a joint letter of opposition, several city police chiefs from across the nation wrote, “The widespread and uncontrolled distribution of silencers to an unwary civilian population, combined with the sheer number of firearms freely available in America is a step in the wrong direction and will result in tragedy, including violence directed at police officers that will be difficult or impossible to investigate effectively,” Star Advertiser reports.

The bill in question, the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act), would remove gun silencers from the list of regulated items under the 1934 National Firearms Act. The Republican Party has argued that this is for the benefit of hunters and recreational shooters to protect them from hearing damage, Star Advertiser reports.

“It isn’t a silencer because it still makes sound, but what it does is cuts the percentage of the noise down to make shooting sports a little nicer for people’s hearing,” Rep. Doug LaMalfa said.“There’s a lot of false narrative being driven by this. Anything to do with making guns more available or more convenient for people is going to find opposition by the left.”

 Rep. Mike Thompson, according to Star Advertiser, is an avid hunter himself but still opposes the bill and its implications for law enforcement and American citizens.

“What it does is it disperses the sound, so you can’t identify where the sound is coming from," Thompson said. “It puts both law enforcement and the public at risk.”

Opponents of this bill, such as David Chipman, senior policy advisor for Americans for Responsible Solutions and a former special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, think that deregulating silencers could lead to even more gun violence.

According to ThinkProgress, in his testimony to Congress in September, Chipman told Congress that they were  "promoting a bill that would make a [shooting] potentially even more dangerous by putting silencers in the hands of criminals, and making it difficult for people — including law enforcement officers — to identify the sound of gunshots and locate an active shooter.”

Furthermore, in his testimony, Chipman mentioned how a hearing on the bill was originally supposed to be held in June on the exact same day that a gunman opened fire at a Congressional baseball practice. “Lives were spared that day because people recognized the unique sound of gunfire and were able to take cover,” Chipman said.

After Speaker of the House Paul Ryan offered his condolences on Twitter to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi retorted, “@SpeakerRyan, it’s time for action. Congress must create a Select Committee on Gun Violence.”

According to Star Advertiser, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy would not say when the bill, along will another GOP-sponsored bill that would allow individuals to carry concealed weapons in any state if it is allowed in the state where they live, would come to the floor, but it is believed that the bills will come to the floor soon.

Pelosi said Republicans have the votes to pass both bills, but Democrats will try to block them with a filibuster in the Senate, Star Advertiser reports.