Paul Ryan: No plans to advance gun silencer bill now

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks about the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas following a Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Oct. 3 (UPI) — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday said there are no plans to bring a bill that would make it easier for Americans to purchase gun silencers to the House floor in the wake of the mass Las Vegas shooting.

The bill, a provision in the Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, was originally planned to advance earlier in the year, but was delayed when House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot June 14 in Alexandria, Va.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., told reporters Monday night the bill was going to be voted upon next week, but after the shooting in Vegas that killed 59 people, “who knows now,” The Hill reported.

On Tuesday, Ryan said there was no imminent plan.

“That bill is not scheduled now; I don’t know when it’s going to be scheduled,” he said. “Right now we’re focused on passing our budget.”

The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in August. It would change a law that requires a special license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in order to purchase a firearm silencer. Under the legislation, a silencer would require only a federal background check — the same required for purchasing a firearm.

The Vegas shooting Sunday prompted some congressional Democrats — as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — to more vocally opposed the silencer bill Monday.

“One of the few ways the police had to go after this shooter was they could look for the sound, try to hear the sound of where the guns came from,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor. “Thank God our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have pulled back on this bill.”

Duncan, who introduced the bill along with Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, in January, said silencers would protect the hearing of hunters.

“This legislation is about safety — plain and simple,” Duncan said at the time. “My hearing has been damaged because of gun noise. Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss.”

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