A century late, but who's counting?
That state's legislature has approved - and its governor has signed - a bill that will begin the process of allowing Pennsylvania hunters the opportunity to use semi-automatic rifles for various game animals such as squirrels, bears and deer.
Oh, the legislation also approve the use of air rifles for hunting; a form of hunting implement used during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Pennsylvania appears to want to make sure there's been sufficient time to work out all of the technological bugs, I guess.
Anyway a lot of how and when all of this will come to pass depend upon the Pennsylvania Game Commission, an agency long noted for tortoise-like foot-dragging and slowness in adopting permissible types of hunting gear. Just look how long it took that agency to sign off on allowing such archery tackle as compound bows an crossbows.
In any event, here is the Pennsylvania Game Commission's press release on the subject. Take particular note of the last paragraph. Knowing politics he way I do, it sure sounds like a swipe at both the legislature and the governor, the agency strutting that it has the final word on the subject.
As the statewide firearms deer season approaches, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds deer hunters that rifles used during the season must be manually operated.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation that will enable the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of semiautomatic rifles and air rifles for hunting, and the bill was signed into law this week.
But the Game Commission has not yet made any changes to the lists of lawful arms and ammunition for any hunting season.
For deer hunters in the upcoming firearms deer season, that means all centerfire rifles, handguns and shotguns to be used must be manually operated. The only exception is that semiautomatic shotguns may be used to hunt deer in five counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – that are defined as Special Regulations Areas.
Semiautomatic rifles generally are not permitted for any type of hunting in any part of the state at this time.
Things could change in the coming months. At its upcoming meetings, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will be discussing the newly signed legislation and the possibility of adding semiautomatic rifles and air rifles to the lawful arms and ammunition list for various hunting seasons. But any changes must follow the schedule dictated by required procedure.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn