Sponsored by Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Senator Bill Haine, Illinois Senate Bill 50 was recently introduced and assigned to committee. This bill contains provisions that would remove the state’s prohibition on using a suppressor.
SB 206, a similar measure introduced in 2015 by Caucus Member Senator Gary Forby, gained considerable traction in Illinois’s 2016 legislative session, but failed to get a final vote before adjournment. If passed during the 100th General Assembly, SB 50 would make Illinois the 43rd state to legalize suppressors.
Incorrectly labeled silencers, suppressors are the hearing protection of the modern sportsmen. These devices do not actually silence a firearm, but instead they reduce the sound of a gunshot to a safe level. Suppressors protect the hearing of sportsmen by reducing the decibel level of the gunshot to roughly the same amount as heard through earplugs or earmuffs. Suppressors also help minimize recoil and increase accuracy for recreational shooters and hunters. Despite the claims of opponents, states that have recently legalized the usage of suppressors have seen no increases in poaching.
“In 2015, Illinois’s sportsmen and women contributed over $67 million through the American System of Conservation,” said Caucus Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council President Representative Brandon Phelps. “Not only would allowing the use of suppressors help protect the hearing of the sportsmen in our state, allowing these devices will also recruit more hunters and recreational shooters, thereby helping ensure the conservation of our Illinois wildlife resources for generations.”
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?