AP

Court rejects challenge to regulation of gun silencers

Jun 11, 2019, 5:29 AM
In this photo taken Jan. 27, 2017, Knox Williams, president and executive director of the Georgia-b...
In this photo taken Jan. 27, 2017, Knox Williams, president and executive director of the Georgia-based American Suppressor Association, poses for a portrait while holding a handgun with a silencer, In Atlanta. They are the stuff of legend, wielded by hit men and by James Bond. For decades, buying a silencer for a firearm has been as difficult as buying a machine gun, requiring a background check that can take close to a year. Now, emboldened by the election of Donald Trump as president, the industry has renewed a push in Congress to ease those restrictions, arguing that it’ll help preserve the hearing of gun users. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)
(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to federal regulation of gun silencers Monday, just days after a gunman used one in a shooting rampage that killed 12 people in Virginia.

The justices did not comment in turning away appeals from two Kansas men who were convicted of violating federal law regulating silencers. The men argued that the constitutional right “to keep and bear arms” includes silencers.

The court’s action in the silencer cases was among dozens of orders in pending appeals, including decisions to add an international child custody dispute and four other cases to next term’s docket. The justices also will hear cases dealing with a death row inmate in Arizona, racial discrimination claims against Comcast by an African American owned media company, environmental cleanup at a Superfund site in Montana and a dispute between Intel Corp. and a retired Intel engineer.

The court also rejected an appeal from a Yemeni man who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base for more than 17 years. But Justice Stephen Breyer said “it is past time” for the court to decide whether indefinite detention at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba is legal.

In the silencer cases, Kansas and seven other states joined in a court filing urging justices to hear the appeals. The states said the court should affirm that the Second Amendment protects “silencers and other firearms accessories.” The other states are: Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

President Donald Trump’s administration asked the court to stay out of the case and leave the convictions in place.

Shane Cox, owner of a military surplus store, was convicted of making and transferring an unregistered silencer, and customer Jeremy Kettler was convicted of possessing one, all in violation of the 85-year-old National Firearms Act. Both men were sentenced to probation.

Meanwhile, police are trying to determine a motive for the deadly shootings in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Authorities have said that city employee DeWayne Craddock opened fire in a municipal building on May 31. Police say Craddock was armed with two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines.

Craddock later was killed in a shootout with police.

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Court rejects challenge to regulation of gun silencers