New Hampshire: ASA-Backed Suppressor Hunting Bill Passes Subcommittee, Heads to Committee

Yesterday, August 20th, HB 500, an ASA-backed bill that would legalize hunting with suppressors in New Hampshire, passed out of a subcommittee of the New Hampshire House of Representative’s Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee on a 3-2 vote.  The ASA’s General Counsel testified before the subcommittee in support of the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. John Burt (R-39).  The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s Director Northeastern States, Brent Miller, also submitted testimony in support of the bill.  Now that HB 500 has passed out of subcommittee, it will head to the full Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee for a vote, which has yet to be scheduled.

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:

  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 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 looks forward to working 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.