House Judiciary Dems want panel to review gun silencer bill
Democrats are asking the House Judiciary Committee to review at a sportsmen’s bill passed by another committee, which has a number of controversial gun provisions, including a measure making it easier to buy silencers.
The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee, but Judiciary Democrats are asking their panel’s leaders to also look at the bill.
“[T}he bill also includes three titles relating to firearms that are in the jurisdiction of the Committee on the Judiciary,” ranking member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) wrote in a Wednesday letter to Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).
They said the measures would weaken interstate regulation of firearms, ease restrictions on silencer sales and make it easier to import some firearms from overseas.
The Democrats said those changes “would subject our citizens to an increased risk of gun violence.”
The gun silencer measure in the bill has attracted the most controversy.
Currently, buyers must register and undergo a comprehensive background check. But under the measure from Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) buyers could buy a silencer with an instant background check.
Republicans say silencers are used primarily by sportsmen to prevent hearing loss.
But Democrats worry they could fall into the wrong hands and make it harder for law enforcement to detect and respond to shootings.
The measure has the support of the NRA, the nation’s most powerful gun rights lobby.
Having the Judiciary committee take up the bill would delay a potential floor vote.
It is unlikely though that Judiciary Republicans would review or delay the legislation.
“These proposals would significantly change current law and impact public safety, taking us in the wrong direction,” the Democrats’ letter Wednesday said.