Today, NRA-backed Senate Bill 243 passed its second reading in the Indiana Senate by a voice vote, after adoption of an amendment that clarifies misdemeanor charges for unlawful hunting with a suppressor. This bill now faces a final vote tomorrow, for passage in the Senate. SB 243, authored by state Senators Ron Grooms (R-46), Travis Holdman (R-19) and John Waterman (R-39), would allow Hoosiers to use lawfully-possessed suppressors (also referred to as silencers) on firearms for hunting. Currently, Indiana law permits use of suppressors for all shooting activities except for the taking of game. Enactment of SB 243 would ensure that hunting is treated the same way as other shooting activities with respect to the use of suppressors, and allow hunters to reap the many benefits suppressor use provides.
In order to acquire a suppressor, a purchaser must submit the appropriate paperwork to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives where long wait times for approval are unfortunately common (four to six months), undergo a background check by the FBI, find a licensed dealer authorized to conduct the transaction and pay a one-time $200 tax for each device. 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. The benefits associated with suppressor use include increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.
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. For more information on firearms and suppressors, click here.