Last week in Georgia, in the final hour before the regular session ended, Georgia legislatures passed HB 60 — one of the most comprehensive gun bills in Georgia history. The bill is now on the Governor’s desk to be signed.
HB 60 expands the number of places where Georgia residents can legally carry their firearms, strengthen other components of existing Georgia gun laws, and make it legal to hunt with a suppressor. In fact, during the final hour the Governor told legislatures that the suppressor hunting aspect had to be included in HB 60 for it to pass.
Why would the Georgia Governor have such a strong stance for legalizing suppressor hunting?
“It was a culmination of voices that convinced the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be a strong voice for this,” said Marty Daniel, owner of Georgia-based company Daniel Defense. “Georgia is about business. He (the Gov.) understood our point.”
Daniel Defense is a rapidly growing company in Georgia that manufactures AR rifles for military, civilian and hunting use. It currently employs 178 people at its Black Creek facility, with plans of hiring another 120 employees over the next 5 years.
Another key component in the push for legal use of suppressor hunting in Georgia was the American Silencer Association (ASA). The ASA is a non-profit group designed to advocate for legal suppressor use through public awareness, lobbying efforts and advancing the suppressor industry. There are also several suppressor-related Georgia companies that are members of the ASA, such as, Daniel Defense, Advanced Armament Corp, Liberty Suppressors and AccuSport.
“ASA is an interesting dynamic,” says Daniel. “The NRA works off of power, but the ASA works off of influence. The NRA is the first voice for gun rights. We want to stand next to them.”
Daniel fully expects the Governor to sign off on HB 60 because of conversations that he’s personally had with him on the subject.
With Daniel Defense so entrenched in the efforts to help legalize the use of suppressors for hunting, could it mean a new line of suppressor offerings from the company?
“We are currently building an ISR (Integrally Suppressed Rifle),” says Daniel. “We will be doing a hunting version (Ambush series) as well. Short-term, we’ll start with the 300 BLK, long-term, we’ll offer it in all calibers.”
Georgia is just the recent state to move toward legal use of suppressors for hunting. Thirty-nine states allow the legal ownership of suppressors and currently 29 states allow their use for hunting game animals and two allow suppressor use for varmints only. ASA is working to get more states to come online soon. It was recently announced that Alabama will soon allow suppressor use for hunting.
To learn more about hunting with suppressors and to get updates about key legislation affecting your ability to use them, check out ASA and sign up for their newsletters and blog.