New Pennsylvania Law Will Allow Use of Semi-Automatic Firearms for Hunting—But Not Just Yet!

U.S. Law Shield of Pennsylvania Independent Program Attorney Justin McShane
U.S. Law Shield of Pennsylvania Independent Program Attorney Justin McShane


On November 21, 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill 263. The new law allows the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of semi-automatic weapons previously banned for hunting, in addition to removing the restriction on air, chemical or gas cylinder powered firearms for hunting.

Up till now, Pennsylvania and Delaware are the only two states that ban the use of semi-automatic firearms for hunting.

According to U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Justin McShane, “Hunters should be aware, however, that the new law will not apply right away. The Game Commission has to first make changes to the list of lawful firearms and ammunition.”

McShane continued, “[W]hile there are some counties that already permit the use of semi-automatic shotguns for hunting, until the Commission completes its list to include other semi-automatic firearms, hunters are going to have to continue to use manually operated bolt action rifles.”

“And that’s important to know,” added McShane, “because rifle season for deer opened on November 28th and the old law still applies.”

“Since the Commission is not scheduled to meet again until January of next year, there will be no changes to the law until April 2017 at best,” stated McShane.

To read the text of the new law, click here.

— by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield Blog