Trump admin lifts ban on sales of silencers to private foreign buyers


The Trump administration moved Friday to end a long-standing ban on the sale of gun silencers, also known as suppressors, to foreign buyers, handing a victory to firearm manufacturers.

The New York Times reported that the ban’s end, which occurred Friday, followed lobbying efforts by Michael Williams, a deputy assistant to President Trump and White House lawyer who formerly ran a trade group representing silencer manufacturers.

“This is another win for the firearm and suppressor manufacturers by the Trump administration,” a spokesperson for the National Shooting Sports Foundation told the Times.

Williams’s efforts to lobby the State Department to lift the ban began shortly after he followed former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to the West Wing following the latter’s appointment, according to White House officials who spoke to the Times.

Williams declined to comment to the Times, and the White House did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill or the Times.

The State Department originally implemented the ban in 2002, with the intention of preventing U.S.-made silencers from falling into the hands of terrorist groups.

A State Department spokeswoman told the Times that the change was made to help U.S. manufacturers and noted that the availability of silencers in other countries had risen since the ban was implemented.

“U.S. companies should have the same opportunity to compete in the international marketplace as other manufacturers around the world,” said the spokeswoman.

The Trump administration’s decision to expand the sale of firearm suppressors to foreign buyers follows a Democratic push last year to completely ban the sale or manufacture of such devices in the U.S. in response to a shooting in Virginia Beach in which 12 people were killed; the gunman allegedly used a handgun with a suppressor and extended magazines.

Tags Donald Trump Gun control gun manufacturers Mick Mulvaney Silencer
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