Hunters may soon be able to use semi-automatic rifles in PA

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Lawmakers are aiming to allow Pennsylvanians to use semi-automatic rifles to hunt.

In November, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation that would allow those guns to be used for hunting in the state.

Jason Brown, a media relations manager for the NRA in Fairfax, Va., said, "They don't need to get back on target after putting a new cartridge in the chamber. They can keep their eyes on the animal. They can take the animal down in a safe, humane way, that limits the suffering for the animal and keeps their hunting on target."

Brown said some Pennsylvanians already own semi-automatic rifles, so this new law would make it convenient for them to use them to hunt.

Danielle Eakle, from Frederick, Md., said, "I think it's acceptable. You try to get the job done regardless."

One hunter at the Great American Outdoor Show said using a semi-automatic rifle could be good or bad, depending on the game you are hunting..

Nick Pulaski, from Palmyra, said, "Whether it be for deer. I think that's a little bit overkill, in the sense that you have a limited amount of tags."

But he thinks it would be OK to use a semi-automatic rifle for other animals.

"In southern states, wild boar tend to be a nuisance, so they tend to have more amount of tags," Pulaski said.

Currently 48 other states already give hunters the option to use semi-auto rifles. Some hunters said it take the challenge out of the experience.

Russel Swanger, from Mechanicsburg, said, "I think that we need to start sticking with the more traditional forms of hunting. We've gotten away from that in a lot of different ways."

Others argue this use of more modern technology appeals to the younger generation.

Ian Beal, the owner of Keystone Valley Ranch, said, "If it gets more kids out there I think it's a good thing."

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is scheduled to make a final vote on the legislation in March.

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