“Can you take a deer, a gun and a silencer into a bar?” -So queried State Sen. Steve Thompson, (D-Smyrna) during floor debate over SB 301, legislation that would permit the use of sound suppressors on hunting rifles. (Current answer is “yes,” though legislation to prohibit feral hogs in bars, restaurants and music venues is being considered.)
The measure passed the Senate 48-5 on Tuesday, with a sort of collective shrug by Georgia’s most deliberative body. If the bill keeps moving forward, Georgia hunters will soon be able to equip their hunting rifles (and handguns, where permitted) with devices some call ‘suppressors’ and some call ‘silencers.’ (The correct term is either ‘silenced suppressor‘ or ‘suppressed silencer.’) Keep in mind that purchasing a silenced suppressor would still necessitate jumping through hoops with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, meeting all the other requirements for a Federal Firearms License, $200 and a long talk with your local sheriff. Also keep in mind that current Georgia law permits the use of suppressors for any type shooting -except for the hunting of game.
Opposition to the bill was muted.
The intent of this bill is obvious to veteran observers of the Georgia legislature. In a state that’s ranked 13th in the nation for teen pregnancy, has higher rates of obesity, a higher death rate from cancer and an overall shorter life expectancy than the rest of the country, Georgia needs to address the epidemic of hearing loss among Georgia’s hunters. Either that, or cut down on the number of noise complaints from city folks who have built their new homes too close to hunting areas and are being kept awake by 165-decibel gunshots.
Not that anyone asked me, but it seems that too much silenced suppression while hunting could be a bad thing. If folks were hunting near my home, I’d certainly want some advance warning so that I could go inside or at least change my suit.