Last month, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) heard testimony on the merits of suppressor hunting at a public hearing in Lansing, MI. During the meeting, a member of the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division delivered a presentation to the NRC expressing that their department does not object to allowing hunters to use suppressors. Following the presentation, NRC Chairman John Matonich asked that a resolution be drafted and presented for first consideration at the January 14th NRC meeting. If approved, the measure will then move for a final vote at the February 11th NRC meeting. That Wildlife Conservation Order has now been introduced, but may have some restrictions supporters were not planning on.
During public comment, representatives from the American Suppressor Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the National Rifle Association, and Gemtech all provided testimony in support of making Michigan the 38th state to legalize suppressor hunting. Additionally, the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and its Advisory Council have recommended to the NRC that they should consider legalizing suppressors for hunting.
Suppressors, which are already legal to possess in Michigan, are considered by these supporters to be the hearing protection of the 21st century sportsman. Michigan is one of only four states in which their possession is legal, but their use in the field is not. Since 2011, 15 states have legalized suppressor hunting for all game animals.
Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment #1 of 2016 legalizes suppressors for hunting in Michigan, but as introduced, would only allow suppressors that reduce the sound of a firearm by 30 decibels or less. You could still own but not hunt with a firearm that has a suppressor capable of reducing sound beyond 30 decibels. Additionally, subsonic ammunition would not be allowed in firearms with a suppressor. Subsonic ammunition is defined as ammunition that does not reach 1,126 feet per second velocity, which is below the speed of sound and would not create the "sonic boom".
If you would like to support this measure or would like to remove either of the two restrictions proposed, please contact the Michigan NRC and politely express your position at: NRC@michigan.gov, or by phone at (517) 284-6237.
MUCC will keep our members informed as this regulation moves through the process.