Ban on silencers could be lifted for Florida hunters

A 57-year-old ban on silencers, the noise-suppressing devices that are used to muffle the sound of a gunshot, could be lifted this week.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet this Thursday in Key Largo to discuss the issue. Advocates say the rule change would be good for a hunter's health. According to hunters, manufacturers, and the National Rifle Association, a suppressor can protect a hunter's hearing from the loud bang that is heard while hunting in the field or shooting at a gun range. It would also allow sportsmen to shoot near residential areas without disturbing residents.

But opponents say the silencers could endanger lives.

Patricia Brigham heads the gun-safety committee for the League of Women's Voters in Florida and tells the Sun Sentinel, "If neighbors don't hear gunshots in the area, how are they going to know to stay out of the way?" 

Florida state law currently allows the use of silencers for hunting animals such as feral hogs and armadillos. The new rule change would allow hunters to use the suppressors to shoot other game including deer and wild turkey.

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