A battle is brewing about the possibility of another state wildlife agency allowing the use of suppressors, also known as silencers, for hunting.
Proponents are urging the allowance of suppressors for big and small game hunting while some opponents claim the “silent” firearms would be a threat to society because the report of a firearm lets people know someone with a gun is nearby.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is planning to discuss the issue during its Sept. 10 meeting in Kissimmee. According to the American Silencer Association, 39 states currently allow ownership of suppressors and 27 of those permit hunters to use them in the field. Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana’s wildlife agencies are among some that this year also have approved use of suppressors.
“[Suppressors] basically will take a high-powered rifle and make it sound like a .22,” Tony Young, a spokesman for the Florida FWC, told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. “It still makes a sound, but it’s at a lower decibel level. Maybe they’re hunting close to some houses and maybe they want to be quiet for their neighbors. Maybe if they’re quiet when they shoot, it will scare the game less. We’re just trying to give people the opportunity to be able to buy one and use one if they choose. We don’t see enough negatives to not allow them.”
Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told the newspaper that suppressors are being pushed by the gun industry to increase revenue.
“You don’t want to have shooting in the area and not hear a thing,” Everitt said. “The report of a firearm is how you know if a hunter is nearby. They have saturated the market and they are looking for new things to sell existing owners. This is about an industry trying to sell people more toys without any regard for public safety.”
Suppressors are not 100 percent silent. They are federally regulated through the National Firearms Act, a 1934 law spurred by Prohibition-era mob violence. Suppressor owners must pass a background check, submit an application and pay a $200 fee.
What do you think about use of suppressors for deer hunting? We’d like to hear your thoughts.
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