According to the Washington Post, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said there were no immediate plans to bring a bill that would make it easier to buy gun silencers up for a vote.
“Right now we’re focused on passing our budget,” Ryan said.
Gun control advocates have focused their attention on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act) in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and over 500 injured.
The bill passed in committee on a party-line vote in the middle of September.
Currently, an individual who wants to own a silencer must have a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The SHARE Act would allow people to buy silencers with only a federal background check.
The bill would also make it easier to move guns across state lines. It would also limit the types of ammunition that could be classified as “armor-piercing.” Armor-piercing ammunition is subject to federal oversight.
House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) said the bill might be brought to the floor at a later time.
Proponents of the legislation say silencers help protect the hearing of law-abiding gun enthusiasts. Critics of the legislation say silencers make it more difficult to apprehend a shooter. It should be noted that silencers do not actually completely silence a weapon. They simply muffle the noise.
There is currently no evidence that Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, used a silencer. However, authorities found a “bump stock” – a device that allows someone to modify a semiautomatic gun so that it fires almost as quickly as an automatic gun – in his arsenal.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she hoped to propose legislation to outlaw bump stocks. They are currently legal and generally cost only a couple hundred dollars. Some Republicans cautiously agreed that additional regulation of bump stocks might be necessary.
Democrats have continued to press Republicans on what they characterize as unacceptable inaction on the matter of gun control.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Ryan declined Democrats’ request to form a bipartisan committee on gun violence. Democrats also criticized Ryan for blocking hearings and legislation on universal background checks.
Democrats said they will hold a rally on the Capitol steps on Wednesday.
Some Republicans said Congress should focus on mental health, not gun control.