On October 15th, ASA backed Legislative Document 942 became law, making Maine the 37th state to allow for the use of suppressors while hunting. Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R – Androscoggin County), LD 942 also includes a “Shall Sign” provision, which will require Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs) in Maine to sign NFA applications within 15 days of receipt, unless the applicant is found to be a prohibited person.
Earlier this year, Minnesota and Montana passed and enacted similar pro-suppressor hunting reform. In 2014, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Ohio did the same. Maine also became the 14th state to enact some form of a “Shall Sign/Certify” process, joining Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
There are many benefits to using a suppressor, including:
- HEARING PROTECTION: Noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are two of the most common afflictions for recreational shooters and hunters. Everyone knows that gunfire is loud, but very few people understand the repercussions that shooting can have on their hearing until it’s too late. Suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by an average of 20 – 35 dB, which is roughly the same as earplugs or earmuffs. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters, hunters, and hunting dogs around the world.
- SAFER HUNTING: Most hunters do not wear hearing protection in the field because they want to hear their surroundings. The trouble is, exposure to even a single unsuppressed gunshot can, and often does, lead to permanent hearing damage. Suppressors allow hunters to maintain full situational awareness, while still protecting their hearing. The result is a safer hunting experience for the hunter, and for those nearby.
- NOISE COMPLAINTS: As urban developments advance into rural areas, shooting ranges and hunting preserves across the country are being closed due to noise complaints. Although it can still be heard, suppressed gunfire helps mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges and hunting land.
- ACCURACY: Suppressors reduce recoil, and help decrease muzzle flinch. These benefits lead to improved accuracy, better shot placement, and more humane hunts.
The American Suppressor Association would like to thank Sen. Mason for sponsoring and championing the legislation, and Rep. Stephen Wood for working hard to ensure its passage. We would also like to thank the National Rifle Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Maine Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and Gun Owners of Maine for working together on this initiative to make Maine a safer place to hunt.
The American Suppressor Association is grateful for the support of our members, and we are very excited about bringing suppressor hunting to The Pine Tree State. We will continue to work towards our goal of legalizing suppressor ownership and hunting in all 50 states. Special thanks to Maine for taking us one step closer!