Press Release

Senator Gillibrand Vows to Stop Congressional Effort Currently Underway to Make It Easier For Criminals to Obtain Gun Silencers

Mar 13, 2017

New York, NY — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), representatives from law enforcement, and gun violence prevention advocates today vowed to block an effort currently underway in Congress to make it easier for criminals to obtain gun silencers. Gillibrand said she would fight against legislation introduced earlier this year in the Senate (S.59) and House of Representatives (H.R. 367) to eliminate gun silencers from the requirements of the National Firearms Act, making it easier for criminals to obtain these deadly weapons, making it harder and more dangerous for law enforcement to catch criminals. President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. one of the leading advocates for rolling back restrictions on gun silencers and explained in a recent video he supports the change because he doesn’t want to worry about wearing hearing protection while hunting and he wants to make it easier for kids to fire guns.   

“Law enforcement already has a hard enough job putting their lives on the line every day to stop gun violence in our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We can’t make it more dangerous and more difficult by making it easier for criminals to obtain deadly gun silencers. These deadly gun silencers pose a huge risk to our enforcement and our communities and I will do everything I can to stop this ill-thought-out legislation that would allow more criminals to get their hands on these dangerous weapons.”

“Gang takedowns and innovative technology have been critical to the NYPD’s efforts to seize guns off our streets and drive violent crime to historic lows. Dangerous gun silencers stymie these effective tactics,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We need stricter gun laws, not a rollback to the lax laws of the bad old days. I stand with Senator Gillibrand, law enforcement officials and gun violence prevention advocates in keeping gun silencers out of the hands of criminals.”

“Anyone who has worked in law enforcement for as long as I have will tell you that silencers were not designed to protect hearing, they were designed to make it difficult for people to identify the sound of gunfire and locate active shooters,” said David Chipman, Americans for Responsible Solutions Senior Policy Advisor and a retired 25-year ATF veteran. “Pretending that silencers are only used for hearing protection is misleading and dangerous. Removing regulations that prevent these weapons from falling into the wrong hands threatens the safety of our communities and will make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to do their jobs.”

“It is critical we come together to push back on attempts by the gun lobby to put our families at risk,” said Natasha Christopher, member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son, Akeal, was shot in Brooklyn and died on his 15th birthday. “Congress should be focused on strengthening our guns laws to prevent shootings like my son’s, not on removing important public safety measures already on the books. It is an insult to survivors of gun violence across this country that members of Congress supporting this bill are putting the demands of the gun lobby before the safety of their constituents. And that is why I am honored to stand with leaders like Senator Gillibrand who are speaking out against this senseless policies.” 

“Claiming that silencers are a matter of public health is a ploy by the gun lobby to put profit over public safety,” said Jaime Pessin, volunteer chapter leader for the New York chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Silencers are powerful tools and create public safety risks, making crime more deadly. The deregulation of silencers is simply another attempt by the gun lobby to gut our nation’s gun laws. Moms Demand Action volunteers are proud to stand by Senator Gillibrand and other leaders who are putting the public safety of American lives over gun lobby policies that claim to address eardrum safety.”

Gillibrand is vowing to fight this legislation that would eliminate gun silencers from the requirements of the National Firearms Act. Under currently law gun silencers can be obtained through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) only after undergoing a thorough background check process and registering the silencer with federal law enforcement. As a result of the requirements currently in place silencers are rarely used in crimes. However, if the gun lobby’s efforts succeed these heightened restrictions would be removed, making it easier for those who can’t pass a background check to obtain these dangerous weapons through unregulated sales at gun shows and on the internet.

Silencers cover the sound of a gun being fired, masking the location of a gunman, making it less likely that bystanders will report the sound of gunshots, thereby impeding law enforcement ability to respond quickly. According to Americans for Responsible Solutions the proliferation of silencers would also diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection systems, such as Shotspotter. These systems are now deployed in nearly 100 cities nationwide including New York City and they provide police with real-time alerts to illegal gunfire, enabling them to more safely respond to and investigate gun crime.

New York is one of eight states that ban silencers with certain exceptions, however, if this dangerous federal legislation is not stopped countless gun silencers could be illegally trafficked from southern states, up the Iron Pipeline and sold directly to gang members and other criminals in our communities.