The case involved two men in Kansas charged with violating federal gun laws. One of the men, Shane Cox, was convicted of illegally making and marketing unregistered firearms. A jury found Jeremy Kettler guilty of possessing an unregistered suppressor. Attorneys for both argued that this involved a dispute between the state and federal governments, and the pair were simply confused by the conflicting laws.
Kettler appealed his case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court. However, the court ruled against him, claiming that firearm accessories fall outside of the Second Amendment.
“A silencer is a firearm accessory; it’s not a weapon in itself (nor is it ‘armour of defence’). Accordingly, it can’t be a ‘bearable arm’ protected by the Second Amendment.”
Kettler has already appealed his case to the SCOTUS. And while the court has not said whether it would take the case, eight attorneys general recently filed an amicus brief claiming the Second Amendment also protects suppressors.
Attorneys General Arguing For Suppressors
The AGs represent Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. They want SCOTUS to review the Tenth Circuit Court’s decision. In fact, they claim the court improperly narrowed the scope of the Second Amendment.
In the brief they wrote, “This Court’s review is needed to affirm that the ‘Arms’ protected by the Second Amendment include items such as silencers and other firearms accessories.”
This case has been coming for a while, and likely will define laws regarding suppressors if the court takes the case. It comes from the fact that people in some states want access to suppressors to protect hearing. In fact, numerous groups have been pushing to have suppressors labeled as firearms in regard to background checks. Currently, federal law requires purchasers to pay a $200 transfer fee, and submit paperwork for an extensive background check. However, certain members of Congress have introduced a bill that would remove suppressors from its NFA listing. In fact, Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina submitted the Hearing Protection Act of 2019 on the first day of the 116th Congress. Unfortunately, it has little chance of passing with the current leadership in the House of Representatives.