In the wake of the Virginia Beach mass shooting on Friday and with National Gun Violence Awareness Day taking place in two days, gun reformists are reevaluating the use of gun silencers, also called suppressors.
The Virginia Beach gunman used a suppressor on his .45-caliber handgun, which distorted the noise of the shots fired, creating confusion for bystanders regarding the source of the bullets. In an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday, national security expert Juliette Kayyem argued for the reform of gun suppressors, following up on her recent op-ed in The Washington Post.
According to Kayyem, the Virginia Beach shooter used the suppressor with intent. Suppressors make it even more difficult to identify where shots are coming from, she noted.
“When you hear a gunshot with a suppressor, it sounds like a chair across metal, or it even sounds like a nail gun. It’s that muted. You also don’t know where it’s coming from,” she said.
Kayyem explained that part of the argument for using gun suppressors is because the noise of gunshot hurts the ears, but she stressed that there are alternative means of ear protection.
“There is no valid reason for these suppressors, in particular on handguns. I don’t get the suppressors on handguns. You can imagine it for maybe hunting rifles, but this is ridiculous," she said.
Kayyem is on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy school, a CNN analyst and CEO of ZEMCAR. She also discussed the indictment of Deputy Scot Peterson regarding the Parkland school shooting, and whether media should or should not disclose shooters' names.