From guns.com comes this report that, effective August 1st, 2014, it will be legal to hunt game in Louisiana with suppressors, thus adding Louisiana to the list of 33 states where hunting with suppressors is legal.
Hunters in the Sportsman’s Paradise will be able to use legally-owned suppressors to both harvest game and control pests following Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signing of House Bill 186 into law Friday.
HB186 strikes the state’s ban on using National Firearms Act-registered suppressors, commonly but incorrectly referred to as “silencers,” in hunting, and replaces it with language to allow widespread use by lawful sportsmen.
The popular bill had sailed through the state Legislature, passing the Senate unanimously on May 20 with little comment by lawmakers.
“This is about mitigating the noise and preventing hearing loss,” said Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), sponsor of the legislation.
The law will allow any person who possesses an NFA-compliant and properly registered firearm suppressor to use the device to both harvest game animals as well as pests and nuisance wildlife such as beaver and nutria. However, in an apparent bid to void use by those with a history of poaching, it forbids the use of suppressed firearms by those who have been convicted of certain wildlife violations in the past five years.
As a suppressor owner and advocate, this is excellent news. I had no idea that so many states allowed hunting with suppressors.
Of course, not everyone was happy:
Only a handful of Louisiana House representatives voted against the suppressor bill when it passed through that chamber in an 82-15 vote in April. Those who did oppose it voiced concerns about the use of suppressors by criminals as well as the broad allowances to use the devices for virtually all game in the state.
“I don’t know why we need silencers to hunt birds,” said Rep. Austin Badon (D-New Orleans). “We don’t need this bill.”
For some reason, Americans are seemingly unique in the widespread belief that suppressors are tools of assassins, hit men, secret agents, and other stealthy types. In many countries, including those that are decidedly anti-gun like the UK, the use of suppressors is considered one of being polite and neighborly: just as it’s rude and disturbing to drive a car without a muffler, shooting unsuppressed firearms can be impolite in some circumstances.
Rep. Badon is off the mark: all shooters should be able to use suppressors if they wish, and their use should be encouraged. Not only does it help reduce hearing damage for the shooter, but it minimizes the irritation of those who may be disturbed by the sound of unsuppressed shooting. Win-win for everyone.