Yesterday, October 15th, HB 500, an ASA-backed bill that would legalize hunting with suppressors in New Hampshire, passed out of the New Hampshire House of Representative’s Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee on a 7-5 vote. The ASA attended the hearing, which featured numerous committee members speaking on behalf of the legislation. Rep. James Spillane (R- Rockingham 02) in particular spoke strongly in favor of expanding the ability of hunters to preserve their hearing by using suppressors in the field. Now that HB 500, which is sponsored by Rep. John Burt (R-Hillsborough 39), has passed out of committee, it will head to the full legislature when the next legislative session begins in January. No date has been set for this bill’s debate, but the ASA will keep you up to date as the situation unfolds.
Suppressors, which are already legal to possess in New Hampshire, are the hearing protection of the 21st century sportsman. Despite common misconceptions, suppressors are not silent. They are simply mufflers for firearms. In fact, 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 ASA thanks Rep. Spillane for his strong support in getting this bill out of committee, and looks forward to working with him, as well as with Rep. Burt and the CSF, to get this bill passed and make New Hampshire the 38th state to legalize hunting with suppressors. We will keep you updated as this bill progresses.