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Moments Before Shooting Rampage, Texas Gunman Attempted to Buy A Silencer; NRA Still Working to Gut Silencer Safety Laws

July 16, 2018

As the NRA and some members of Congress are working to gut federal silencer safety laws, the Austin American-Statesman reports that a Texas man recently charged with murdering his neighbor and days later going on a shooting rampage, firing randomly into vehicles and injuring two women, attempted to buy a silencer right before going on a shooting rampage in South Austin.

Notably, a clerk at the gun range from which he attempted to buy the silencer informed him that he would first have to pass a criminal background check, as required by federal law. The gunman was asking disturbing questions, including about real-life scenarios, and the store asked him to leave.

The Austin American-Statesman reports:

“Austin police investigating the case retraced the steps they think the 29-year-old former political staffer took before the shootings, starting at a South Austin gun range, where they said [gunman] had been turned down from buying a gun suppressor moments before he started firing a weapon into random vehicles.

“When [gunman] visited Range at Austin around 2 p.m. Wednesday, he asked to buy a gun suppressor, according to an arrest affidavit. However, the clerk told police, [gunman] was ‘acting crazy.’

“The store’s manager told the American-Statesman that staffers had explained to [gunman] that he could not buy a suppressor without submitting forms to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as mandated by law.”

And yet some members of Congress are pushing dangerous legislation that would profit gun and silencer manufacturers by gutting silencer safety laws, and make it easy for anyone to buy a silencer without a background check. The proposals in Congress would roll back silencer safety laws and make it easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous mental illnesses to buy silencers without a background check, simply by finding an unlicensed seller.

If the NRA-backed legislation had been in effect, the Texas gunman could have easily purchased a silencer in Texas, without a background check, simply by finding an unlicensed seller. Rolling back silencer safety laws would make it easy for people with criminal histories to obtain silencers without passing a background check. Many of the nation’s top law enforcement organizations oppose this legislation because it would make our communities less safe.

More information about the proposed legislation to gut silencer safety laws is available here. If you have additional questions about this dangerous legislation, don’t hesitate to reach out.


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