Maine has done away with the permitting process to hunt with a suppressor.

Hunting seasons may be a little quieter around the Maine woods. A proposal to end the permitting process to use a suppressor, or "noise suppressing device," while hunting passed in the Maine legislature. The repeal of the law was approved by Maine Gov. Janet Mills, June 8.

LD. 635, presented by Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Aroostook, repealed the requirement to obtain a permit before hunting with a noise suppression device. Prior to the change, those caught hunting with a noise suppression device without a permit would lose their hunting license for at least three years. Stewart tells Q106.5, the idea behind the bill was to bring Maine's hunting laws more up-to-par with states that allow hunting with suppressors. Of the 40 states where you can hunt with a suppressor, Maine was the only one that required a permit to do so.

Suppression devices are beneficial to hunters in multiple ways. The first, and most obvious benefit, is to help save a hunter's hearing. According to the American Suppressor Association, these devices reduce the noise of a gunshot by an average of 20–35 dB, which is roughly the same as earplugs. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters, hunters, and hunting dogs. A suppressor can also improve accuracy by reducing recoil, and help decrease muzzle flinch. A benefit that can be enjoyed by hunters and non-hunters -- less noise complaints during Maine's various hunting seasons.

Now, to be clear: You still need to go through the federal permitting process to own a suppressor. "Noise suppressing devices," also known as "suppressors," "cans," or "silencers," are still NFA items. The purchasing process has many hurdles, including lots of paperwork, FBI FD-258 fingerprint cards, passport photos, usually a long wait (we're talking many months) for ATF approval, and $200 (per-suppressor) for the required federal tax stamp.

While we're on the topic, lets just clear-up this one thing about "silencers." Suppressors do not silence a gun. All these devices do is dampen the report, or boom, from a firearm. They don't magically make a gunshot silent, or make those high-pitched "pew, pew" noises like in Bond movies.

In conclusion, to make this clear: Yes, you no longer need a permit from Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to hunt with a suppressor in Maine. No, this does not remove suppressors from the NFA list. Meaning you still need to jump through all the federal hoops.

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