This week, Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to lift a 57-year-old ban on using silencers/suppressors on rifles and pistols for the hunting of deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows.
A proposed amendment to 68A-12.002 General Methods of Taking Game; Prohibitions would remove specific hunting-specific suppressor prohibitions currently on the books.
Getting lost in shill hum of the anti-gun/anti-sportsmen group, is the fact that the existing ban is very limited. It is nothing more than a small carve-out prohibition. It is already legal to hunt on private land with suppressed rifles and pistols when hunting hogs, furbearers (coyotes, bobcats, otters, raccoons, opossums, beavers, skunks and nutrias) and armadillos. Further, it is legal to hunt furbearers and armadillos on public land with suppressor-equipped rifles and pistols. Additionally, it is legal in Florida to use suppressor-equipped shotguns for all hunting.
So why all the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by anti-gunners?
Florida's current ban on the use of "silencers" on pistols and rifles while hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows was added to hunting regulations in August 1957, with no apparent justification. At the time, Hollywood movies made suppressors, also called "silencers," synonymous with "machine guns" and assassins during alcohol prohibition.
Contrary to the common view of suppressors, they do not eliminate or completely silence the sound of a firearm. Suppressors only reduce the report of a gunshot in the same way that a muffler reduces exhaust noise and emissions from a vehicle.
There are numerous benefits associated with the use of suppressors, including reduced noise pollution, increased accuracy and protection from hearing damage.
Thirty-two states currently allow all hunting with suppressors. There are no known poaching incidents using a firearm suppressor that is registered under the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934.
Increased use of suppressors will help to eliminate noise complaints, which have been used more frequently as an excuse to close shooting ranges, public shooting areas and hunting lands throughout the country.
It's time for Florida's ban to be lifted and to spread awareness to the rest of the country.
Stay tuned as this story evolves with G&A's Suppressor section and the American Suppressor Association.