The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TPWC) is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change allowing the use of suppressors (also referred to as silencers) on firearms for the hunting of game species. Currently, Texas law permits the use of lawfully-possessed suppressors for all other shooting activities, including the taking of nuisance species. Enactment of this rule change would ensure that hunting is treated the same way as other shooting activities with respect to the use of suppressors, and allow all hunters to reap the many benefits suppressor use provides.
There is an incredible amount of misinformation on what suppressors do and how they may be acquired. Suppressors are not “silencers,” as depicted in typical Hollywood action film. 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.
According to the information accompanying the release of the proposed state rules, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has determined that “there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit the use of firearm silencers for the take of alligators, game animals or game birds, and therefore proposes to eliminate the current prohibition.”
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.
More than half of the states allow the use of suppressors for hunting without reporting any problems with increased incidents of poaching or other criminal activity. 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 firearm suppressors, click here.
This proposal is currently available for review on TPWC’s website, and is located in the last two paragraphs on the website. Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted at upcoming public meetings to be scheduled around the state, or to Robert Macdonald (contact information below). Please comment on this important change because allowing the use of suppressors would have a very positive impact on hunting in the Lone Star state. A final decision of this proposed rule will be made by TPWC at its March 28-29 public hearing.
To comment on the proposed rules, please contact:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, Texas 78744
Courtesy of the NRA-ILA