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Semiautomatic rifles could cause hunting safety concerns

By Scott Snyder
February 16, 2017

Pennsylvania is currently trying to pass legislation that allows the use of semiautomatic rifles for hunting. This is an important issue because it affects the overall safety of hunters out in our forests. It is a law that was unanimously agreed upon to pass, which brings into question the responsibility we are putting into the hands of the sport.

This is both a new and ongoing issue. The earlier suggestion of this law was first intended for the use of the semi-automatic rifles for purposes of small game and varmints. The commissioners move to pass this legislation on March 27 of this year. I have skeptical thoughts on the issue. I totally agree with the earlier suggestion for use on small game. There is no reason a citizen shouldn’t be able to protect his land from pests like coyotes, as long as he does so responsibly; as in, not within city limits and operating at the appropriate distance from another person’s property as the Pennsylvania Game Commission demands. Again, a lot of this falls upon the responsibility of the hunter, which is often seen exploited in the media leading to people being hurt.

The new legislation proposes the use for big game like deer and bear. This is where I get skeptical with the idea. I personally just don’t think it is necessary. People already fire enough useless rounds, which increases the risk of other hunters. The legislation intends to ban the use of full metal jacket rounds, which I agree with. If I had any say in the matter, I would suggest the use of a higher caliber round like a .308. It is plenty big enough to use on bear or deer and can be accommodated with most semi-automatic weapons. One style of hunting I usually never practice consists of a “drive.” I know of a lot of people who hunt this way and the thought of people lined up armed with this particular kind of weapon is alarming; however, I would be all for it if people prepared themselves for this change.

If people stay within their shooting lanes and don’t fall out of line, then I say enjoy the sport and just be safe. There’s plenty of people who hunt and also participate in range/target shooting who are well capable of abiding to this new legislation and practicing their freedoms or should I say privileges, safely.

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