The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously yesterday to legalize suppressors use while hunting. The benefits associated with suppressor use include increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.
Prior to the adoption of this rule, lawfully-possessed suppressors were permitted for all other shooting activities besides hunting game animals, including the taking of nuisance species. The adoption of this common sense proposal by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department helps in other states where the NRA is involved with similar pro-hunting measures. Legislatures in Oklahoma and Georgia are currently considering similar measures and Arizona has recently passed one which would enhance hunting opportunities because of the many benefits that suppressors provide.
There is an incredible amount of misinformation on what suppressors do and how they may be acquired. Suppressors are not “silencers,” as depicted in typical Hollywood action films. While suppressors do not eliminate the sound of a firearm, they do reduce the muzzle report in a manner similar to the way that a muffler reduces exhaust noise from a vehicle.
Taxes and strict regulations affect the manufacture and sale of suppressors under the National Firearms Act. They are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in most states.
However, a prospective user must go through an application process administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which requires a Federal tax payment of $200.00 and a thorough criminal background check. The $200.00 buys a tax stamp, which is the legal document allowing possession of a suppressor.
The following unfriendly firearms states and the District of Columbia have explicitly banned any civilian from possessing a suppressor: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. BTW, Illinois and D.C. also band possession of handguns outside your home and make handgun ownership extremely difficult and expensive.
Noise complaints are being used more frequently as an excuse to close shooting ranges, informal shooting areas, and hunting lands throughout the country. Increased use of suppressors will help to eliminate many of these complaints and protect hunting and shooting areas well into the future.