Below The Radar: Help Empower Americans To Respond Act

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Anti-Second Amendment extremists have a lot of disregard for those Americans who exercise their Second Amendment rights. If they aren’t trying to ban guns, they are trying to otherwise make life difficult for any law-abiding American who either owns a gun or wants to do so.

The difficulty doesn’t just come with restrictions on firearms. It can also include targeting accessories, including heavily regulated ones like suppressors. Under the National Firearms Act, suppressors (often called silencers) are subject to a $200 tax, and a lengthy process to make or transfer. In fact, the process of getting a suppressor is what many anti-Second Amendment extremists want to inflict on any American who wishes to own a firearm.

But that just isn’t enough for some. One of those who thinks the NFA’s process is too lax is Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), who has introduced HR 3454, the Help Empower Americans to Respond Act. So, what is she proposing? She’s taken the Eric Swalwell approach on modern multi-purpose semiautomatic firearms and applied it to suppressors. In plain English, she wants a total ban on any civilian ownership. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced S 1943, a companion bill in the Senate.

We’ve covered a past piece of legislation that Representative Coleman introduced, the Handgun Licensing and Registration Act, and it showed the same desire for sweeping restrictions on Second Amendment rights targeting people who had done nothing wrong. In this case, the misuse of a suppressor in Virginia Beach last year is being used at the pretext for a “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in” moment.

Oh, Coleman will graciously grant a 90-day grace period to turn them in, and there will be a “buyback” of the civilian silencers. But the facts make this bill an injustice targeting Americans for punishment for crimes and acts of madness they didn’t commit. And the injustice is compounded by the fact there are laws on the books to address the misuse of suppressors.

The fact is, the misuse of suppressors already can land someone in prison for at least 30 years under the provisions of 18 USC 924(c). Plus, there is the rarity of suppressors even being misused. This is not surprising, just as it wasn’t surprising that we haven’t heard of flamethrowers being misused. Suppressors actually make firearms less concealable. That, and the already strict requirements to legally own one, make this bill nothing more than an injustice.

Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Senators and Representative and politely urge them to defeat HR 3454 and S 1943. Ask them to support legislation like the Protecting Communities and Preserving The Second Amendment Act to target the misuse of firearms and various accessories instead.


About Harold HutchisonHarold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.


  1. So If this happens, how will Mizz Bonnie what’s her name stop people from taping a beer bottle or a pop bottle to the end of their firearm ? Just wondering

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