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Discussion Starter #1
By Bob Frye
Saturday, March 21, 2015, 8:48 p.m.




The field is down to two.

No, not the NCAA Tournament. In this case, it's the number of states that prohibit the use of air rifles for hunting.

New Hampshire is one. The other? Pennsylvania.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission's 2014-15 hunting digest, it's illegal to use “air- or gas-operated rifles and handguns” for any species in any season.

A state lawmaker is making a second attempt to change that.

Last fall, Rep. Matt Gabler, an Elk County Republican, introduced a bill that would have amended the state game and wildlife code by removing the prohibition on hunting with air- or gas-powered weapons. It would not have automatically legalized air gun use for hunting. Rather, it would have given the Game Commission the authority to legalize such use for whatever species and seasons it wants.

It unanimously passed the game and fisheries committee but never came up in the full House for a vote before the legislative session ended.

Gabler recently reintroduced the bill as House Bill 263 and has hopes it will move this time.

“Air- and gas-powered weapon technology has advanced in great lengths in recent years, with many such weapons now having equal or greater muzzle energy and stopping power when compared with numerous small-caliber weapons currently allowed under law or regulation of the commission,” Gabler wrote to lawmakers in seeking cosponsors.

“This legislation would enable Pennsylvania to move into the 21st century and allow the (Game Commission) and their experts to use their data and expertise to determine whether the regulated use of these weapons is prudent with today's technology.”

At least one member of the Game Commission board isn't convinced hunters want that.

Ron Weaner of Adams County said the board often hears from people pushing the legalization of one implement or another. He's heard no sportsmen advocating for air rifles, he said.

“I don't know of anyone on the board or on the staff that thinks it's a good idea,” Weaner said. “I'm not interested in addressing it.”

That's not an uncommon stance, at least early in the debate, said Jim Chapman, one of the stars of the TV show “American Airgunner” and the man behind americanairgunhunter.com. Air rifles have been widely used for hunting in Europe for decades. Their acceptance as legitimate hunting tools has been slower coming in America, he said.

That's misguided, he said.

Chapman has taken game all over the world with air rifles, from birds to squirrels to hogs to whitetails to impala. They're as lethal and humane as other firearms, he said.

Their range is more limited, he admitted. He suggested most shots with air rifles must be taken at less than 100 yards. But that's a large part of their appeal, he said.

“If you're the kind of guy who went to hunting with bows or handguns because you wanted more of a challenge, you're probably the kind of guy who would like hunting with airguns,” Chapman said. “It's like bowhunting in terms of the need to get closer to your game and the need to focus on shot placement. You can be a sloppy rifle hunter. You can't be a sloppy airgun hunter.”

Modern air rifles come in two varieties: spring loaded, which work when a hunter “breaks” open the barrel to cock it, and precharged pneumatic models that operate with a built-in or, less often, detachable gas tank. Spring-loaded rifles typically are single shots. Precharged, or PCP models, can hold multiple rounds and fire up to 20 or 30 shots per charge, said Greg Wnek, a sales representative at Pyramyd Air in Solon, Ohio, one of the country's largest distributors of air rifles.

The smallest air rifles shoot .177 caliber pellets. Some, though, can fire .50-caliber pellets, similar in size to a flintlock roundball, and can take big game. Arizona allows hunters to use such firearms for taking mountain lions and black bears.

Precharged models start at $400 to $500 — and run into the thousands — with break-action guns starting at half that or less, Wnek said.

But they have real advantages over firearms that use gunpowder, he added. Ammunition is inexpensive and widely available, there is virtually no recoil, they are almost completely silent, and they often can be used in places where people don't like to see or hear other guns, he said.

“Guys that enjoy shooting, if you give them an airgun, they have as much fun as they do when shooting another firearm,” Wnek said.

The firearms industry is noticing, Chapman said, speaking of the SHOT Show, the firearms industry's annual trade show.

“If you went to the SHOT show a few years ago, air rifles were just a tiny fraction of what you saw” he said. “This year, there were four or five more big bores introduced, and there were airguns all over the place, front and center. They were just everywhere.”

Everywhere but in Pennsylvania's woods. There's precedent for changing that, Chapman said.

“You've got some practical laws to look at for reference,” Chapman said
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is a state by state guide to airguns and their use in hunting. Notice New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in red, lol.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hunterknapp16 said:
He says he hears of no one supporting it. Guess he didn't get my emails....
I have been emailing legislators for about 2 years now trying to move a bill like this forward. I have talked to a few other commissioners about exploring how other states are regulating air rifle since we may see them legalized at some point.

I never talked to Weaner about it, but since he has not heard from anyone, I sent him a email yesterday to tell him that there actually are people that would like to see legislation legalizing air rifles for hunting.
 

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When I email about prohunting or progun legislation I email everyone one in the house and Senate, as well as the governor. Lol. It takes a while, but I have the list saved and just copy/past it 10 at a time. I then call my local ones to tell them to support it or co sponsor it.
 

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Dpms,

Can you please post Mr. Weaner's email?

Thanks

There is no reason to not allow air guns for any season open to firearms for small game. Just about any pellet has more energy than individual shot fired from a shotgun smaller than #4. (Legal size for small game)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Run2Catch said:
Dpms,

Can you please post Mr. Weaner's email?

Thanks

There is no reason to not allow air guns for any season open to firearms for small game. Just about any pellet has more energy than individual shot fired from a shotgun smaller than #4. (Legal size for small game)
I will PM his email to you as I don't like to share emails on a public board.

Or you can send to [email protected] and put the subject of the email and "for the commissioners" in the subject line. It will be forwarded to all of them.

Remember that it takes legislation to legalize air rifles for hunting. The PGC cannot make them legal. With that said, the PGC and/or the BOC can work with the legislators on bills through their legislative liason. If your support air power for hunting, it is worth letting the commissioners know that there are hunters interested in using air rifles for hunting.
 

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Has anyone else notice that PA hunters always allows PA hunting regulation to lag way behind almost every other state on restriction?

seems we want to hunt with 20th century restriction for "traditions sake" of keep outdate restriction and IF I don't like something no one else that hunts in PA should have the freedom choice to hunt except what they feel is a tradition.
 

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White Feather said:
Has anyone else notice that PA hunters always allows PA hunting regulation to lag way behind almost every other state on restriction?

seems we want to hunt with 20th century restriction for "traditions sake" of keep outdate restriction and IF I don't like something no one else that hunts in PA should have the freedom choice to hunt except what they feel is a tradition.
Nah, we are selfish for wanting to expand things for everyone. Lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
White Feather said:
Has anyone else notice that PA hunters always allows PA hunting regulation to lag way behind almost every other state on restriction?

seems we want to hunt with 20th century restriction for "traditions sake" of keep outdate restriction and IF I don't like something no one else that hunts in PA should have the freedom choice to hunt except what they feel is a tradition.
It's weird, Pa leads on some hunting related issues and refuses to even entertain other issues. Semi autos, Sunday hunting, air rifles. In every one of those cases, the roadblock lies with our elected officials since it is laws preventing them from moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Btw, in the case of Ron Weaner. He said he "doesn't know anyone that thinks allowing air rifles is a good idea". What bad could possibly come from it if they are regulated correctly. Weaner also has said that it is not the job of the PGC to regulate hunting on a full time basis. If it is not the job of a game agency to regulate hunting on a full time basis, whose job should it be.

Weaner is also a road block to hunting regulations that are well received and commonplace across most of the nation.
 

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dpms said:
Btw, in the case of Ron Weaner. He said he "doesn't know anyone that thinks allowing air rifles is a good idea". What bad could possibly come from it if they are regulated correctly. Weaner also has said that it is not the job of the PGC to regulate hunting on a full time basis. If it is not the job of a game agency to regulate hunting on a full time basis, whose job should it be.

Weaner is also a road block to hunting regulations that are well received and commonplace across most of the nation.
DO you have a link to that quote?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
R.W.J said:
DO you have a link to that quote?
I posted the entire article in this thread.

“I don't know of anyone on the board or on the staff that thinks it's a good idea,” Weaner said. “I'm not interested in addressing it.”
 

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dpms said:
Btw, in the case of Ron Weaner. He said he "doesn't know anyone that thinks allowing air rifles is a good idea". What bad could possibly come from it if they are regulated correctly. Weaner also has said that it is not the job of the PGC to regulate hunting on a full time basis. If it is not the job of a game agency to regulate hunting on a full time basis, whose job should it be.

Weaner is also a road block to hunting regulations that are well received and commonplace across most of the nation.
I meant a link to the bolded statement
 

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Discussion Starter #16
R.W.J said:
I meant a link to the bolded statement
Oh. I purposely did not put quotes around that comment because it was made several years ago about the same time as the house bill was circulating around and various commissioners made comments to the press. He did say it was not his job, which is kinda odd coming from a sitting commissioner of a game agency. So, to answer you question, it is out there somewhere but I did not archive the article.
 

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dpms said:
White Feather said:
Has anyone else notice that PA hunters always allows PA hunting regulation to lag way behind almost every other state on restriction?

seems we want to hunt with 20th century restriction for "traditions sake" of keep outdate restriction and IF I don't like something no one else that hunts in PA should have the freedom choice to hunt except what they feel is a tradition.
It's weird, Pa leads on some hunting related issues and refuses to even entertain other issues. Semi autos, Sunday hunting, air rifles. In every one of those cases, the roadblock lies with our elected officials since it is laws preventing them from moving forward.
Yup, in MANY ways PA is stuck in the stone age regarding game laws/regulations.
 

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Stone age? Do we get a special season to throw stones at small game? Native Americans were pretty good at it.

The powers that be making the hunting weapons rules have been extremely myopic in the past 30 years. In the 1960's and 1970's, deer hunters could use any manually operated firearm except rimfires 25 cal and under. Why anyone felt the need to change that made no sense.

And before any one makes an idiot statement about "BB" guns. Red Ryders and other such ilk are not rifled. Air rifles can be quite lethal. In the 16th century, some European city states equipped their guards with air guns that could penetrate armor and still kill a human. Merriweather Lewis killed an antelope with an air rifle during his famous trip across the west in the dawn of the 19th century. Last June, I saw a 50 caliber pellet rifle that could put a hollow point pellet through a piece of one inch particle board at 100 yds. It still cracked like a 22, but probably packed much more wallop.

Daisy actually toned down some of their products' power back in the 1980's because they were sued over the lethality of their higher end air rifles in one or two wrongful death cases.

The Commission was hot to trot when compounds, in-lines and cross bows came along. Don't know who is the no-nothing at the BOC that screws up the rules.

Just for an example. For almost 40 years the rules for muzzle loaders required open sights, which according to the Commission excluded peep sights. About 9 years ago, the commission made a big deal about eliminating the open sight requirement so that peep sights would become legal. Two years later they put the open sight requirement back in the rule, but the digest still said peep sights were legal. Somebody there has a very limited knowledge of firearms and their own history.
 

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HB 263


GABLER - An Act amending Title 34 (Game) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in hunting and furtaking, further providing for unlawful devices and method...
PN 0267 <span style="font-weight: bold">(Air Rifle Authorization - Use to be determined by GC BOC)</span>

Referred to GAME AND FISHERIES, Feb. 2, 2015

Reported as committed from GAME AND FISHERIES, April 15, 2015

First consideration, April 15, 2015
Laid on the table, April 15, 2015
Removed from table, April 20, 2015
Second consideration, April 21, 2015
Re-committed to APPROPRIATIONS, April 21, 2015

Re-reported as committed from APPROPRIATIONS, April 22, 2015

Third consideration and final passage, April 22, 2015 (196-0)

<span style="font-weight: bold">In the Senate</span>
Referred to GAME AND FISHERIES, May 1, 2015

Reported as committed from GAME AND FISHERIES, June 16, 2015

First consideration, June 16, 2015
Laid on the table, July 13, 2015
Removed from table, July 13, 2015
Laid on the table, Oct. 19, 2015
Removed from table, Oct. 19, 2015
PN 2535
<span style="font-weight: bold">Second consideration, with amendments, Nov. 16, 2015</span>


Amendment passed - amendment made the GC elk sportsman tag permanent. Had a sunset provision when passed last session.
 

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The question remains - will the animal rights affiliated / anti gun Governor we have sign this bill if it gets the third affirmative vote in the senate. and is concurred to in the house?

Meanwhile the semi auto bills remain locked up...
 
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