Gov. Wolf signs bill to give hunters new gun options

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed legislation that removes a ban on hunting with semi-automatic rifles.

Act 168 of 2016, formerly House Bill 263, also removes the ban on air- and gas-powered rifles.

The legislation doesn’t automatically allow the guns to be used for hunting, but it gives the Pennsylvania Game Commission the authority to regulate and allow their use during certain seasons or for certain animals.

The bill’s author, Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), said the legislation brings Pennsylvania in line with many other states that allow semi-automatic firearms as a hunting option.

Gabler has said air- and gas-powered rifles – now with equal or greater muzzle energy and stopping power than numerous small-caliber guns that are allowed – are especially popular with young hunters and women in states that allow them.