Despite all of the various twists and turns the Las Vegas shooter story has taken, one of the ones which flew somewhat under the radar was the very rapid, lava level hot take from Tim Kaine. Shortly after the horrendous attack took place the almost Vice President came out and declared that as bad as the casualties were, just imagine how much worse it would have been if the shooter had a suppressor. (Sorry… Democrats say, “silencer.”)
Here’s the video of that precious moment.
“He was only stopped finally because he did not have a silencer on his weapon. And the sound drew people to the place where he was ultimately stopped. Can you imagine what this would have been if he had silencers on these weapons?”
Clearly this was in immediate push to get new legislation allowing easier access to suppressors derailed. This one was so outrageous that even the Washington Post fact checker had to hold Kaine to account. Well… sort of. They still only managed to come up with a Two Pinocchio rating, thanks to the generous nature of Glenn Kessler.
Kaine should be more careful when talking about weapons, especially during a national tragedy. We will accept his staff’s explanation that he meant that silencers muffled a gunshot’s direction, even though his phrasing certainly sounded like he meant that silencers actually made firearms quiet. Regular readers know we don’t try to play gotcha here at The Fact Checker.
But in any case, the evidence does not support Kaine’s claim that the shooter was “only stopped” because he did not have suppressors on his weapons. That’s exaggerated and could leave a misleading impression on people only familiar with silencers in the movies. The crowd under attack might have had trouble establishing the location of the shooter if he had silencers, but he fired from a hotel filled with guests who almost certainly would have heard 132 decibels from the floors above and below the attack.
If you read the entire “fact check” you will see that Kessler has actually taken the time to do his homework and report that suppressors only dampen weapons reports marginally, along the same lines as ear buds. Very helpful in saving your hearing, but not enough to “silence” them in any meaningful way.
Also, it’s already been reliably confirmed that someone in the hotel had reported the location of the shooter long before law enforcement arrived. Further, he set off the smoke detectors in the room because of all the rounds fired. There is simply no way under any combination of supposed facts or assertions that anyone could reasonably argue that the shooter would have gone undetected for a longer period of time if he’d used a suppressor.
Oh, and just for the record, he’d been dead for a significant period of time when the police finally broke in the door.
So tell me… how does this wind up being a “Two Pinocchio” rating? Sounds like a flat out pants on fire to me. But hey, WaPo. You do you.