If you’re planning to take a walk in the woods sometime soon, or stroll on your own property, you’d better think twice, because thanks to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and the National Rifle Association, silencers will now be allowed on guns.

L.D. 942, amended from a previous version of the bill to include permits and penalties, was sponsored or co-sponsored by nine legislators, all of whom are either members of SAM or highly rated by that organization.

Of the 13 voting members of the Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Committee, which heard the bill, at least nine are members of SAM, and one of the bill’s co-sponsors is the chair of the committee as well as one of SAM’s directors.

The bill used the word “suppressors” because the sponsors know that “silencers” doesn’t sound good. After all, hit men and assassins use silencers, not suppressors.

L.D. 942 was also supported by the NRA (talk about out-of-state influence), which sent its Maine state liaison to testify for it.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposed the bill because, among other reasons, it is a poacher’s dream and would make the enforcement job of game wardens extremely difficult because you don’t hear a shot that is silenced.

It also means that landowners wouldn’t know if someone was shooting on their property so they could identify that location. I’d like to know whether and where someone is firing a gun on my land, especially in violation of the law. Wouldn’t you?

Despite the objections of game wardens, and thanks to the committee that represents the small minority of Mainers who hunt and trap but denies representation to everyone else, L.D. 942 is now law, and we are less safe for it.

Don Loprieno

Bristol