Massachusetts: ASA Testifies in Favor of Suppressor Legalization Bill

Last Tuesday, July 14th, the ASA’s General Counsel testified in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary in support of H. 1305, a bill that would legalize private suppressor ownership in Massachusetts. H. 1305 is a short bill that would replace the current law that prohibits the possession of suppressors by non-manufacturers with language that allows private individuals to own and possess suppressors so long as they are not (1) prohibited persons; (2) committing a violent felony; (3) committing a crime of violence against a family member; or (4) possessing or selling controlled substances.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn), Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), and Rep. Stephen DiNatale (D-Fitchburg), also received supporting testimony from Jim Wallace, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners’ Action League (GOAL), Rep. Frost, Chris Graham, owner of Yankee Hill Machine, and several other members of the public. Only one person, anti-gun Rep. David Linsky, spoke against the bill.

There are many benefits to using a suppressor, including:

  1. 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.
  2. SAFER HUNTING: Most hunters do not wear 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.
  3. 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.
  4. ACCURACY: Suppressors reduce recoil, and help decrease muzzle flinch. These benefits lead to improved accuracy, better shot placement, and more humane hunts.

The ASA is very appreciative of the efforts made by GOAL and Rep. Frost, who drafted and introduced H. 1305, as well as Sen. Gobi and Rep. DiNatale for agreeing to cosponsor it. The hearing before the Judiciary Committee is the first step of a long legislative process, but the ASA is optimistic that Massachusetts will become the 42nd state to legalize private suppressor ownership in the near future.