Contact: Joe Bachar, Coordinator, Northeastern States
Why It Matters: Firearm suppressors increase safety for sportsmen and women taking part in shooting activities. Contrary to popular belief, suppressors (also known as “silencers”) do not completely silence firearms, rather they serve to reduce the sound signatures of gunshots to minimize the risk of hearing damage. Although suppressors have been used by hunters and recreational shooters since the early 1900’s, they are still highly restricted and even completely illegal in some states. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has been on the forefront of suppressor legalization for over a decade and will continue to work to increase their acceptance and use into the future. CSF is firm in the belief that firearm suppressors improve the safety of recreational shooters, hunters, and hunting dogs.
Last week, CSF hosted a range day at Sig Sauer’s Academy in Epping, NH, near the Council of State Governments’ Northeast Annual Conference in Manchester, NH. Legislators from four states along with fish and wildlife agency staff and partners were given the opportunity to learn about firearm suppressors and gain first-hand knowledge of their function and impact on recreational shooting and hunting.
Attendees heard a presentation by Knox Williams from the American Suppressor Association (ASA) about the history of suppressors, their functionality, and how they are currently regulated in the United States. Although suppressors are federally regulated under the 1934 National Firearms Act, demand and ownership have been increasing in recent years as more firearm owners seek additional forms of hearing protection. As demand for firearm suppressors increases, more states are beginning to legalize ownership and use of suppressors in a range of shooting activities.
Most recently, Vermont became the 41st state to legalize the use of suppressors while hunting. This successful effort was led by Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council member Representative Pat Brennan. While firearm suppressor ownership was already legal, S. 281 authorized their usage while hunting, marking the end of a decade long effort from the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, CSF, and ASA.
CSF will continue to work with state caucuses and partner groups like ASA to advance legislation that allows sportsmen and women to obtain and utilize firearms suppressors. Special thanks to our sponsors Sig Sauer, American Suppressor Association, Silencer Central, RYP Granite Strategies, and Reynolds American that made this event 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?