New Hampshire is close to becoming the 40th state to allow suppressor hunting.
On April 21st, the New Hampshire House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee voted 11-5 to affirm an amendment to House Bill (HB) 500, which would permit suppressor hunting in the state. This supplements the amendment on HB 500 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which offered minor changes to the proposed legislation. It'll be moving to the House floor on May 11th before it ultimately lands on Governor Maggie Hassan (D-NH)'s desk.
Hunting suppressors aim to help reduce noise and protect hearing while hunting.
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) has been on the forefront on this battle to get this key piece of legislation passed. The group aims to "unite and advocate for the common interests of suppressor manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and consumers." They primarily focus on initiatives such as state lobbying, federal lobbying, public education, and industry research.
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 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.
Suppressors reduce recoil, and help decrease muzzle flinch. These benefits lead to improved accuracy, better shot placement, and more humane hunts.
Why are state governments afraid of this preferred hunting method? It will ensure safety, greater protection, and better precision. Let's hope New Hampshire and the nine remaining states eventually realize the importance of suppressor hunting.