VERMONT: SUPPRESSOR HUNTING BILL PASSES LEGISLATURE

MONTPELIER, VERMONT – This morning, the Vermont State Senate passed an amended version of S. 281 – legislation that includes a provision to make The Green Mountain State the 41st state to allow the use of suppressors while hunting. The suppressor hunting language, which was championed by Representatives Pat Brennan (R-Chittenden-9-2) and George Till (D-Chittenden-3), was added to S. 281 during the floor debate in the House of Representatives and subsequently passed on May 10th. The bill now heads to Governor Phil Scott (R-VT) for his signature. Once enacted, the new law will take effect on July 1st.

“It is my pleasure to announce that with today’s passage of S. 281, the legislature has taken a tremendous step forward towards expanding the right of hunters to use suppressors in the field,”

— Rep. Brennan, Co-Chair of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

“It is my pleasure to announce that with today’s passage of S. 281, the legislature has taken a tremendous step forward towards expanding the right of hunters to use suppressors in the field,” said Rep. Brennan, Co-Chair of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. “For the past seven years, law abiding citizens in Vermont have enjoyed suppressor ownership, but their use has been restricted to sport shooting at ranges only. With the passage of S. 281, Vermont outdoorsmen and women finally have the ability to protect their hearing and the hearing of the youth hunting community as well. This bill was a long time in the works, but it has finally come to fruition thanks to the cooperation of many, most especially the Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Commissioner.”

The American Suppressor Association has been fighting for suppressor rights in Vermont for a decade. Over the years we have helped draft legislation, provided written and verbal testimony, and hosted multiple live-fire suppressor demonstrations for legislators, law enforcement officers, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. In 2015, legislation introduced by Rep. Brennan legalized the ownership of suppressors in the state, but not their use in the field. Today’s passage of S. 281 brings us one step closer to full suppressor legalization nationwide.

 “What Representatives Brennan and Till have accomplished is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “It highlights the value of hard work, persistence, and bipartisanship. There should be nothing controversial about protecting hearing. We could not have asked for better partners in the fight for your suppressor rights.”

Knox Williams and Rep. Pat Brennan at a Suppressed Pheasant Hunt during the NASC Conference in New Hampshire (2018).

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 development advances 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.
Although legal in 42 states, suppressors have been federally regulated since the passage of the National Firearms Act of 1934. Currently, prospective buyers must send in a Form 4 application to the ATF, pay a $200 transfer tax per suppressor, undergo the same process that is required to purchase a machine gun, and wait months for ATF to process and approve the paperwork. In stark contrast, many countries in Europe place little to no regulations on their purchase, possession, or use.

About the American Suppressor Association

The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is the unified voice of the suppressor community. We exist for one reason and one reason only: to fight for pro-suppressor reform nationwide.

The ability of the American Suppressor Association to fight for pro-suppressor reform is tied directly to our ability to fundraise. Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, 3 states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 states have legalized suppressor hunting. Much of this would not have happened without your support. Join us in the fight to help protect and expand your right to own and use suppressors by becoming an ASA Member at www.ASAMember.com.

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