HB 234 (Allow Noise Suppressors While Hunting) passes House committee

The Buckeye Firearms Association-supported legislation to allow hunting with suppressed firearms, HB 234, passed out of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, March 11.

The bill was introduced by sponsors Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R - Grove City) and Rep. John Becker (R - Union Township). Buckeye Firearms Association, the American Silencer Association and the Ohio Speech and Hearing Governmental Affairs Coalition have provided testimony supporting the legislation. Buckeye Firearms in cooperation with Black Wing Shooting Center in Delaware held a range day to demonstrate the effects of suppressors for members of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The Legislative Services Commission (LSC) analysis explains the bill as follows:

  • The bill authorizes a person who holds a valid hunting license issued under the Hunting and Fishing Law and who hunts game birds or wild quadrupeds to use a suppressor attached to a gun while hunting. A person only may use the suppressor if the person is authorized to possess the suppressor under state and federal laws and has registered the suppressor in accordance with the National Firearms Act. Under the bill, a suppressor is any device used for diminishing the sound of any shot, bullet, or projectile that is discharged from a gun that is authorized to be used for hunting.
  • The bill also exempts from the existing prohibition against knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any dangerous ordnance a person who (1) owns a dangerous ordnance that is a firearm muffler or silencer attached to a gun that is authorized to be used for hunting by the Hunting and Fishing Law, and (2) is authorized to use such a dangerous ordnance by the bill.

Additionally the LSC reported in the Fiscal Note and Local Impact Statement the following:

The practical effect of this change is that there may be fewer violations of certain restrictions concerning the use of silenced firearms in hunting. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife, which has enforcement authority over hunting violations, is not aware of any arrests or prosecutions for hunting with a silenced firearm.

The bill will now be scheduled for a House floor debate and vote. Please contact your State Representative and ask for their support.

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.

Media Coverage:

Columbus Dispatch - Bill allowing gun silencers while hunting passes out of committee

In early February, the Buckeye Firearms Association hosted about 20 lawmakers and legislative aides at the Black Wing Shooting Center in Delaware to demonstrate the effect of placing a silencer on a .45-caliber pistol and .308-caliber rifle.

Some lawmakers were unfamiliar with the impact of a silencer and were concerned their use would make it difficult to know if someone is hunting nearby, or illegally hunting on private lands.

An audiologist from Ohio State University, Eric Bielefeld, measured the sound difference between silenced and unsilenced guns, recording a 15 percent or more reduction in volume. It was enough, he said, to protect ears from damage but still loud enough to be heard from several hundred yards away.

Asked by Rep. Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, whether the bill addresses what happens if silencer technology improves, Mitchell said approving silencers by rule would allow for more flexibility to deal with such changes. Scherer was the only member of the committee to vote “no” on the bill.

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