A House hearing scheduled on a controversial gun law has been cancelled following the shooting of multiple members of Congress in a nearby suburb.
A House subcommittee was poised to consider a “discussion draft” of the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which would make it easier to purchase silencers for guns.
The hearing was put on hold, however, when a gunman opened fire on a Republican Congressional baseball team practise in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. Five people were injured, including Senate Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
Congress cancelled all votes for the day. The House Natural Resources Federal Lands Subcommittee, which is charged with reviewing the SHARE Act, was one of several committees to cancel their hearings.
The SHARE Act’s sponsor, Republican Representative Jeff Duncan, was present at the baseball game on Wednesday. The Representative was not injured.
Mr Duncan’s bill would remove gun silencers from the list of items regulated by the 1934 National Firearms Act. It would also make it easier to transport guns between states, and loosen restrictions on armour-piercing bullets.
Mr Duncan had previously called the act “one of the most important bills for sportsmen and women” in Congress, and deemed existing restrictions “outdated”.
Opponents said the proliferation of silencers would make it harder for police to detect gun violence.
Mr Duncan did not immediately release a statement following the shooting. But fellow Republican Mo Brooks, who was also present at the baseball game, says it hasn’t changed his opinion on gun control.
“As with any Constitutional provision in the Bill of RIghts, there are adverse aspects to each of those rights that we enjoy as people,” Mr Brooks said. “And what we saw here is one of the bad side effects of someone not exercising those rights properly.”