Please Stand-Up and Make Your Voices Heard!
Today, House Bill 427 was defeated by the Montana House by a 42-58 vote. The bill could be resurrected as early as tomorrow (Saturday) but we need your help to achieve that. Any State Representative who opposed the bill can vote to have the bill reconsidered.
HB427 repeals an unwarranted Prohibition-era law that prohibits the possession of suppressors on firearms "in the field or forest" while hunting. The current prohibition on suppressors is so archaic, so poorly written it even criminalizes benign conduct, like simply being outdoors with a suppressor.
Hunting laws should be designed to benefit law-abiding sportsmen, not to restrict what they may do in order to more easily apprehend the small minority of law breakers.
Suppressors for hunting should be allowed as one means of decreasing the conflict between hunters and non hunters who complain about the noise associated with gunfire. In addition, a growing number of hunters seek to use suppressors as a means of protecting their hearing and that of their hunting partners.
The idea that suppressors are the sole domain of criminals is one generated by Hollywood. It sets a dangerous precedent to enact or reject laws based upon this fallacy rather than the reality that the vast majority of hunters comply with all laws and regulations and simply seek to exercise options that best address their individual circumstances.
Under existing law, the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks can prosecute the criminal misuse of suppressors (poaching). Anti-hunting zealots believe that the use of suppressors gives hunters an unfair advantage over game animals. This illustrates their failure to understand the most fundamental principles of centerfire rifle ballistics.
Please contact the following State Representatives and respectfully urge them to support HB427 and to bring it up for reconsideration tomorrow (Saturday). Contact information can be found here.
Duane Ankney (R-Colstrip)
Bob Ebinger (D-Livingston)
John Fleming (D-St. Ignatius)
Dennis Getz ( D-Glendive)
Dennis Himmenberger (R-Billings)
Cynthia Hiner (D-Deer Lodge)
Mike Jopek (D-Whitefish)
Harry Klock (R-Harlowton)
Bill McChesney (D-Miles City)
Robert Mehlhoff (D-Great Falls)
Mike Milburn (R-Cascade)
Art Noonan (D-Butte)
Pat Noonan (D-Butte)
Jesse O'Hara (R-Great Falls)
Don Roberts (R-Billings)
Cheryl Steenson (D-Kalispell)
Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman)
Jeffrey Wellborn (R-Dillon)