The politicization of the Virginia Beach shooting was to be expected from anyone following politics in the last few decades. Nothing does more to stir up political emotions than these indiscriminate slaughters.
In times when emotions are running high, logic should be our go-to instinct. For those acquainted with gun politics, it’s well-established that the Left is a lock to push for gun control after every shooting.
Emotional appeals are their bread and butter.
Careful investigation showed that the Virginia Beach perpetrator legally acquired his gun and carried out his heinous act in a gun-free zone. One would think that the Republican side of the aisle would provide a logical alternative to this dilemma. However, this is politics, after all. And we should be prepared for disappointment at every turn.
In this instance, President Donald Trump hammered suppressors stating that “I don’t like them at all” when asked about the Virginia Beach shooting and the murder’s use of a suppressor during the massacre.
These comments immediately sent chills down the gun community’s spine as speculation of Trump considering a suppressor ban emerged. Many fear that a replay of last year’s bump stock ban could be in store, which is already meeting some resistance from gun owners.
Suppressors are already heavily regulated under the National Firearms Act. On top of that, research shows that there aren’t many in circulation. John Lott found that “about 1.3 million Americans had registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) to own a suppressor” in 2017. Despite media hysteria, suppressors are rarely used in crimes. According to the BATF, 44 cases involving suppressors were recommended for prosecution. In other words, a measly .003 percent of suppressors are used in crimes each year.
Interestingly enough, President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. is a proponent of suppressor deregulation and justifies this policy for safety concerns. Suppressors reduce the sound guns make, which benefits shooters with hearing problems.
Having more affordable suppressor options available thanks to de-regulation would help out this segment of the gun community tremendously. Trump Jr.’s advocacy saw a shift in the Overton Window in 2017 when Republicans introduced the Hearing Protection Act. However, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting dashed all hopes of this legislation passing. Further, the current congressional makeup makes it nearly impossible for the 2019 version of the HPA to become law.
Trump should live up to the pro-gun rhetoric that got him elected and not entertain the idea of regulating or even banning suppressors.
Instead, the President should take advice from his son and work to deregulate suppressors. At the end of the day, gun control policies such as gun-free zones are what allow Virginia Beach-style shootings to happen. No accessory ban will change that.