June 6, 2022

A Decade in the Making: Vermont Gains Right to use Suppressors While Hunting

Contact: Joe Mullin, Manager, Northeastern States

Why it Matters: Firearm suppressors are often referred to as the hearing protection of the 21st Century. Vermont acknowledged this in 2015 when it authorized their ownership and authorized their use at firing ranges. Thanks to the recent signing of S. 281, they will now also be legal to use while hunting. Vermont now joins 40 other states that allow the use of suppressors in the pursuit of game – allowing sportsmen and women to protect their hearing while maintaining situational awareness. The signing of S. 281 also marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, following field demonstrations and both oral and written testimony.

On June 1, Senate Bill 281 (S. 281) – legislation authorizing the use of suppressors while hunting – was signed by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus (GSC) Member Governor Phil Scott of Vermont. The signing of this bill comes after a decade of efforts spearheaded by leaders of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, CSF, and ASA.

As was previously reported, Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Pat Brennan was the driving force behind getting S. 281 onto the Governor’s desk. Representative Brennan said the following regarding the bill’s recent signing:

“With the passage of S. 281 and signing into law by Gov. Scott on June 1, Vermonters will join 40 other states in providing access to hearing protection through suppressor use on both shooting ranges and afield. Going forward, Vermont’s sportsmen and women will now have the ability to protect their hearing in the hunting woods, as well as ensure the protection of today’s generation of youth hunters. It was a ten-year process, and with the cooperation of many stakeholders including the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, we were able to see this bill evolve into its current form – one that will provide a safe and protected outdoor shooting experience for all Vermonters.”

Driven by the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, CSF, and ASA, Vermont legalized firearms suppressor ownership in 2015, and since that point numerous attempts have been made to authorize their use while hunting. Through years of persistence, hosting suppressor demonstrations and testifying in various committees, S. 281 has brought the realities of utilizing suppressors in the field to fruition. This law will take effect on July 1, 2022.

CSF thanks Representative Brennan and Representative Till for their tireless efforts, as well as GSC Member Governor Scott, and all those who helped make the enactment of this pro-suppressor legislation possible.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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