In one of the few states to ban hunting with semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, a lawmaker has proposed an amendment to the state’s hunting regulations that would at least allow varmint hunters to use their ARs to plink pests on their land.
Pennsylvania Republican state Sen. Greg Lucas forwarded his one sentence amendment to the state’s Consolidated Statutes on hunting and fur taking to the committee on Game and Fisheries May 1st. It would change the wording of unlawful hunting methods in the state to allow for semi-automatic rifles chambered in .223 caliber or less for hunting varmints like fox, coyote and woodchuck. Hunters would be restricted to loading no more than six rounds.
“This bill would help farmers protect their livestock from the threat of foxes and coyotes,” Lucas said in a release announcing his amendment. “These rifles are already legal for Pennsylvanians to own and use for target practice. Semiautomatic rifles already are in homes across the Commonwealth. I simply want to allow the owners to use them for a new purpose.”
The AR-15 is one of America’s most popular rifles, and while many states restrict hunting to shotguns and bows, only a couple forbid the use of semi-auto rifles for taking game. Lucas — whose district spans two counties in the northwestern part of the state — said his move recognizes the popularity of AR-style rifles and the damage varmints cause to his rural constituents.
“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from hunters, sportsman’s clubs are on board and I’ve got over a dozen cosponsors (for the bill),” Lucan told the Meadville Tribune. “Pennsylvania is one of the few states that doesn’t allow semi-automatics in hunting. My legislation only makes it legal for varmints and predators.”
According to his official bio, Lucas is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has served as an NRA recruiter, shooting instructor and Pennsylvania Game Commission hunting and trapping educator.