Governor Wolf Signs Bill Allowing Semi-Automatic Weapons for Hunting

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HARRISBURG -- Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill lifting the ban on semi-automatic rifles as well as some others for hunting in Pennsylvania.

It would also allow for the use of air- and gas-powered rifles.

Hunters cannot use those weapons just yet, however.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission still must set regulations and rules on when and where hunters can use such weapons.

Those weapons are not allowed for the last day of bear season on Wednesday, November 23, or for rifle deer season, which starts next week.


  • Brad

    A few things.

    1) It is illegal for a high majority of the civilian population to own AUTOMATIC weapons, making ALMOST ALL weapons sold to civilians SEMI-AUTOMATIC.

    2) Definition – semi-automatic mode, when the user pulls the trigger the firearm will only fire one round or bullet. The trigger must be reset before another round can be fired, one round per trigger pull. This is how handguns and most civilian rifles operate.

    3) This means that essentially ALL weapons used outside of government/military agencies are Semi-Automatic. So for people to freak out about this is just another example of how ignorant people are about a topic before they make comments

    4) There have been comments about AR type weapons for hunting. AR DOES NOT stand for Automatic Rifle, is stands for ArmaLite Rile

    5) REAL hunters do not use AR-15’s for hunting. WHY? because the 5.56mm/,223 round is usually not effective enough for a clean/human kill of an animal, say such as a deer. Putting more rounds into a deer MAY kill it, but MOST people aren’t skilled enough to hit a wounded deer, running through the forest, multiple times with ANT type round. Therefore, for hunting big game, you need a more powerful type bullet.

    6) ANYONE that wants to hunt a Bear with a 5.56mm/.223…….well…….I call that natural selection and keeping funeral homes in business.

    Disclaimer – YES, AR style rifles can come in many caliber sizes, but most are 5.56mm/.223

    So I end with this. The type/style of weapon along with the size bullet/round is almost completely irrelevant if the person using the weapon isn’t educated and more importantly effective with using it. You can use a large caliber bullet to hunt, but if you can’t hit what your aiming at, it doesn’t matter.
    Oh and by the way, the more rounds/bullets you allow in a magazine, the higher chances of missing you intended target. Unless you Special Forces, SEAL, Delta or something like that, MOST people cannot fire rounds effectively one after another, and their accuracy significantly decreases with each round fired in succession.

    • Charlie Burkholtz

      Brad, I agree with most of your comments but will add that MANY weapons are semi autos but many are bolt, pump, lever action or even single shot. And yes the AR rifle can be had in several calibers the 223/556 being the most anemic but still very viable as a varmint or small predator weapon! I own several AR’s, some in 30 caliber and one in 25 caliber any of which I’d be confident to use for deer or even bear with the right load! As with ANY weapon used to end the life of any animal, shot placement is imperative.

  • DUCK!!!!!!

    Please people, educate yourself on Politics!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Governor does not run things in Harrisburg.. The Republicans Control it all.. They add Bills like this to important Bills for Spite..Obama has the same problem. Stop voting a democratic Governor out because he didn’t do what you wanted.. Vote the representatives out so he can get his agenda done.. If we stop the Gerrymandering and let majority rule then you will see big change. Then you can blame the governor if it’s not what you like…

  • C'mon Gimme a Break

    Gov Wolf has done NOTHING for Property Tax relief, ESPECIALLY for Seniors, BUT he has signed law to let people go through a red light if it does not change in a certain amount of time ( Which in my opinion gave the Green Light to run red lights, and use that law as an excuse that they were sitting at a Red Light, when they did not, thus causing potential wrecks endangering more people ) Now he gives the once a year Rambo’s Semi Automatics, now watch the number of Hunters getting shot increase, it’s bad enough when some of those hunting do not have common sense with a single shot, now they can use multiple Semi Shots when they see something moving in the brush which might turn out to be another Hunter ! Good Grief ! How about some Property Tax relief for Old Seniors Governor ?

  • joemama1980

    There are some hunters who shouldn’t be allowed in the woods with a gun. They are lousy shots or take irresponsible shots. Now they’ll send 4 more misses that much faster. A good marksman needs only one shot. These guys need more time at the range, not faster follow up shots.

  • DUCK!!!!!!

    OK fine,but now you have to deal with multiple shots at running deer and no chance of being aware of what’s beyond the deer if you miss and odds are your going to miss a running deer. Can you see it? Wait wait… Oh sheesh another hunter just came into sight and the bullet is on it’s way. How bout that car down by the road..Hope that no one was in it. The neighbors house that was behind you and now is in the line of fire…Don’t worry you can plead Buck Fever,It is a legitimate symptom of most hunters as they can attest. I am Hopefull my neighbor who regularly shoots with my house in his line of fire does not use a semi auto because he miss’s 9 times out of 10 every hunting season and I have to deal with a whizzing bullet every other year and I don’t look forward to him upgrading.

  • concernedcommuter

    If you ever saw half the people at the Game Commission range that use those rifles you sure wouldn’t want them in the woods with you.

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