The Supreme Court refused Monday to decide if the Second Amendment protects gun silencers such as the one used in last month’s Virginia Beach shooting that killed 12 people.
Without comment or dissent, the justices turned away petitions from the operator of a Kansas army-surplus store and one of his customers who purchased an unregistered silencer in violation of federal law.
Two lower federal courts previously ruled that gun silencers fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment because they are accessories not in common use by law-abiding citizens.
The Trump administration had urged the Supreme Court not to hear the challenge. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear “arms,” and that restrictions on silencers don’t burden the ability to use a gun for self-defense.
In addition, Francisco noted that the high court previously acknowledged that the Second Amendment permits banning “dangerous and unusual weapons.”
“Many courts have upheld restrictions on silencers on the alternative ground that silencers are dangerous and unusual,” he wrote.
Lawyers for Jeremy Kettler, who purchased a silencer from store owners Shane Cox, argued in court papers that silencers “are almost never used in crime” and that states “have increasingly recognized that suppressors are not dangerous.” They said Kettler, a disabled veteran, wanted to protect his hearing.
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