August 17, 2018

Mid-Atlantic: CSF Hosts Regional Policy Forum, Suppressor and Air Rifle Demonstration

By Brett Stayton, Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator

On August 9, members of the Delaware and Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucuses gathered with state officials and conservation partners for a regional policy forum and suppressor/air rifle demonstration at Schrader’s Outdoors in Henderson, Maryland.

Other attendees included officials from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; staff from the Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission; conservation partners; and secretaries from Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor John Carney’s (DE) cabinet for a policy forum and demonstration on firearm suppressors and air rifles.

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator Brett Stayton, New England States Coordinator, Joe Mullin, and Senior Director, Northeastern States, Brent Miller hosted the event, which kicked off with brief remarks focused on CSF’s policy priorities related to suppressors and airguns.

Eddie Schultz, Sig Sauer’s Air Gun Engineering Manager, then provided information on recent advances in airgun technology and discussed policies related to hunting with large caliber air rifles. Knox Williams, the President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association (ASA) also presented on the benefits firearm suppressors provide for both hunters and recreational shooters. Attendees engaged in a discussion about hunting with air rifles, the use of firearm suppressors, and how these new technologies are affected by the laws and regulations in their respective states.

Following the discussion, attendees headed to the range to try air rifles and suppressed firearms.

The possession of firearm suppressors is still completely prohibited in the state of Delaware, as well as in seven other states nationwide. Legislation that would have legalized the possession of suppressors by law enforcement and military officials in Delaware was introduced during the 2018 legislative session. The bill passed through the House but failed to advance out of Senate committee.

During the 2017 legislative session, Delaware Caucus Co-Chair Senator Bruce Ennis introduced a bill that would have authorized the use of high powered air rifles for hunting; the bill passed the Senate, however, it failed to advance out of the House.

“”I want to thank our sponsors for another successful demonstration of equipment that the Sportsmen’s Caucus would like to see legalized in Delaware,” said Delaware Caucus Co-Chair Representative Jeff Spiegelman, “I would also like to thank the secretaries of Agriculture and Natural Resources for joining us. Everyone walked away with a better understanding of what these devices are and what they are not. That can only help when legislation is brought forward to allow the use of these devices in the future,”” said Rep. Spiegelman.

The American Suppressor Association, Sig Sauer, and the Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association supported this event.

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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