Like many people around the world, Hillary Clinton had a strong reaction to the news that 59 people were left dead and 527 injured after a man opened fire at a country music festival from his Las Vegas hotel room Sunday night.
Las Vegas, we are grieving with you—the victims, those who lost loved ones, the responders, & all affected by this cold-blooded massacre.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
But after tweeting her grief, the 2016 presidential candidate then went straight for the poignant, political jugular, noting how the NRA wants to make mass murder easier by pushing for a bill that would give people greater access to gun silencers.
“The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots,” Clinton wrote. “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”
The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.
Our grief isn't enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA, and work together to try to stop this from happening again.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
The silencers, or suppressors, she references are used to muffle the sound of gunshots. They are also at the heart of legislation called the Hearing Protection Act, which would remove suppressors from the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of “firearms,” making them easier to buy without background checks. The bill would also eliminate a $200 tax when silencers are purchased.
The point Clinton and gun control advocates make against silencers is obvious: If a gunshot is quiet or muffled, then you cannot hear it—as well as the hundreds more that could be on their way, like in the Vegas mass shooting. The waiting period for buying silencers is up to nine months and getting fingerprinted is required.
Proponents of the bill argue that silencers should be more accessible because they prevent gun users’ hearing loss. “Had I had access to a suppressor, it may have protected me, as well as millions of other Americans, from this sort of hearing loss,” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) said in January when he announced the bill.
While President Donald Trump has been uncharacteristically nonrespondent to Clinton’s tweet, his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, addressed it in a press conference Monday afternoon.
“It’s very easy for Mrs. Clinton to criticize and to come out, but I think we need to remember the only person with blood on their hands is that of the shooter, and this isn’t a time for us to go after individuals or organizations,” said Sanders. “I think that we can have those policy conversations, but today is not that day.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the latest death toll in the Las Vegas shooting.