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SEMINOLE COUNTY (CBSMiami/NSF) —Three Central Florida residents have filed a legal challenge against a state decision allowing hunters to use silencers, citing safety issues as their primary concern.

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Seminole County residents Charles W. O’Neal, Peri Sedigh and Timothy Orrange Jr. filed the challenge last week in the state Division of Administrative Hearings against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Last month, the commission approved removing a prohibition on the use of noise suppressors, or silencers, with rifles and pistols.

The animals that can be hunted with silencers are at deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows.

Supporters argue the move would have benefits such as protecting hunters’ hearing and helping while introducing people to the sport.

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But the Seminole County residents, in an eight-page challenge, said they own property abutting woodlands, hike or paddleboard and are concerned about safety if they are unable to hear shots.

The challenge also pointed to statistics about gunshot wounds in Florida.

“Clearly, the ban removal will only add to these figures as the once-thundering crack of a firearm, sending warning to hikers, nature lovers and wildlife alike that hunters are nearby, will be reduced, muffled or altogether silenced,” the document said. “Even if the sound of the report from a hunting rifle or pistol is reduced by … (30) decibels or less, silencers create a zone in which a person in the woods or in their backyards can be within range of a bullet without knowing that hunters are nearby.”

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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