Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced that it voted to lift the ban on hunting with suppressors in the state, despite delaying the vote from Thursday to Friday as a result of “increased public interest.” The issue had been hotly debated since FWC officials first announced the possibility of removing the ban earlier this year. With the inclusion of Florida, 34 states now allow hunters to take game with the aid of suppressors.
Sportsmen in Florida and elsewhere have long argued for the use of suppressors, also known as silencers, because the devices muffle the sound of gun shots to a level that is safe for hearing. Suppressors can help prevent hearing loss, especially if you hunt often. Opponents, however, argue that the quieter gun shots make it easier for poachers to take game and poses a safety concern for non-hunters.
Those that support lifting the ban say that notion is ridiculous.
“The opposition to suppressor hunting stems from a fundamental misunderstanding or misrepresentation of what suppressors actually do.” Knox Williams, President of the American Suppressor Association (ASA), told Chris Eger of Guns.com. “To claim that a suppressor can make a gunshot silent is as false as claiming that the world is flat.”
Despite their portrayal in Hollywood movies, suppressors still make a lot of sound—enough to be heard if you are close enough. What most suppressors will do is reduce the noise level of a gunshot to under 140 dB, which is the minimum threshold for a hearing-safe impulse noise according to OSHA. The FWC agreed, rescinding the ban on taking game animals like deer, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, quail, and crows. Taking nuisance animals with suppressors was already allowed.
“Following the suppressor vote, the Commission also voted to authorize an Executive Order to lift the ban immediately and allow hunting with suppressors to begin at once,” the FWC stated in a press release.
The ASA, who supported the move to legalize suppressors for hunting in Florida, praised the decision when it was announced on Friday.
“ASA would like to thank everyone who worked on the issue, including the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, and the National Rifle Association,” the organization wrote on its website. “We would also like to thank the Commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their unanimous support, and to their Executive Director for signing Executive Order # 14-32. Most importantly, we would like to thank all of the sportsmen and women in Florida who took the time to support this initiative. Because of your efforts, hunting in Florida has become a safer and more enjoyable experience.”