High court silent on gun silencers

Gun Rights

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of federal restrictions on gun silencers. Arkansas and seven other states had urged the high court to take up the issue. On Monday, the court announced that it won’t weigh in. The nine justices offered no explanation for their decision. The gunman who killed 12 people in Virginia Beach, Va., on May 31 was using a silencer, according to media reports. Supporters of the sound-muffling devices, which are attached to the end of a gun barrel, often refer to them as "noise suppressors," noting that they lessen but do not eliminate the sound of gunshots. But the 1934 National Firearms Act, which regulates them, calls them "silencers." Under the 85-year-old statute, the devices must be registered. A $200 tax is also levied whenever one of the devices is purchased. Kansas tried, unsuccessfully, to nullify the federal statute in 2013, passing what it called the Second Amendment Protection Act. Approved by that state’s legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Sam Brownback, it declared that a firearm or "firearm accessory" that is "owned or manufactured" in Kansas isn’t "subject to any federal [gun] law" unless it crosses the state border. After its passage, a Kansas gun owner named Jeremy Kettler purchased an unregistered silencer from the Tough Guys military surplus store in Chanute, Kan., subsequently posting video of the unregistered device. Kettler and the store’s owner, Shane Cox, were eventually convicted of violating the National […]

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