Pennsylvania Bill to Allow Semi-Autos for Hunting Headed to Gov. Wolf

Pennsylvania is one of only two states that do not allow the use of semi-auto rifles for hunting.


A House proposal lifting prohibitions on the use of semiautomatic and air or gas-powered rifles by Pennsylvania hunters has been approved by the legislature.

The legislation has spent the past 20 months winding through committee and floor votes before passing the Senate on Tuesday 40-7 and the House 160-25 Thursday in veto-proof margins.

“The inspiration for House Bill 263 came from an Elk County citizen who showed me how advancements in technology associated with these air-, chemical- and gas cylinder-powered rifles made them viable, humane options for use in hunting applications,” said Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield, sponsor of the legislation, in a statement. “In addition, my bill now brings Pennsylvania in line with many other states that provide semi-automatic firearms as a viable hunting option.”

Gabler’s legislation amends state law by removing the ban on the use of air, chemical or gas cylinder operated weapons as well as semi-automatic rifles, allowing the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of such weapons to manage game species and bag limits.

Only one other state, Delaware, currently prohibits the use of all semi-automatic rifles to take game. While semi-auto shotguns are allowed under Pennsylvania laws, all rifles must be manually operated.

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