Democrats introduce legislation to ban gun silencers

Media tepid on Biden gun moves

Hill opposition prompts minor actions

New Jersey Democrats Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman on Thursday introduced legislation to ban gun silencers.

The 2021 Help Empower Americans to Respond (HEAR) Act, which Menendez first introduced in 2019 after the Virginia Beach mass shooting that killed 12 people, bans the sale, manufacturing, importation, transfer and possession of gun silencers.

"Gun silencers are dangerous devices with one purpose and one purpose only – to muffle the sound of gunfire from unsuspecting victims," Menendez said in a Thursday statement. "The sound of gunshots is what signals you to run, hide, take cover, call the police and help others save themselves; however, this is nearly impossible when a gun silencer is used."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., speaks to reporters during a news conference in Newark, N.. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

He described the bill as "commonsense legislation that will prevent armed assailants from using these deadly devices to make it easier to shoot and kill another person."

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Watson Coleman called silencers "tools of murder" in a Thursday statement.

"They have no legal application, which is why law enforcement officials around the country have been calling for their elimination," she said, adding that the HEAR Act "will save lives and is part of the common-sense approach to firearms legislation that polls show has widespread support among voters on both sides of the aisle."

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The HEAR Act would also authorize a silencer buyback program, give Americans a 90-day grace period after the legislation is enacted to comply and provide limited exceptions for law enforcement and Atomic Energy personnel.

Gun silencers (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Gun silencers (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart)

Cosponsors include Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Alex Padilla of California.

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The Virginia Beach shooter, DeWayne Craddock, on May 31, 2019, opened fire in a government building using a suppressor attached to a .45-caliber handgun. The tragedy prompted a wave of new gun-control legislation at the time.

More recently, the Biden administration and legislators including Menendez have introduced more gun-control legislation following mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia; Boulder, Colorado; and Orange, California.

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Menendez -- along with Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Ted Deutch of Florida and Dina Titus of Nevada -- on Wednesday introduced legislation that bans the sale, manufacturing, transfer, possession or importation of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Audrey Conklin Fox News