Earlier today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 184 to 124 in favor of passing House Bill 500, a bill that seeks to legalize hunting with suppressors in New Hampshire. Sponsored by Rep. John Burt (R-Hillsborough 39), this legislation is backed by the American Suppressor Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and the National Rifle Association. With the Ought to Pass (OTP) designation, HB 500 will now move to the Senate, where it awaits committee assignment.
Suppressors, which are the hearing protection of the 21st century sportsman, are legal to own in 41 states. New Hampshire is one of only four states, also including Connecticut, Michigan, and Vermont, in which their possession is legal, but their use in the field is not. Since 2011, 15 states have legalized suppressor hunting for all game animals. As part of the No State Left Behind campaign, the ASA is working to ensure that all four of these states legalize suppressor hunting in 2016.
Despite common misconceptions, suppressors are not silent. They are simply mufflers for firearms. 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 will continue to actively work towards the passage of HB 500 in New Hampshire. We will keep you up to date with the bill’s progress.