The “sport” of hunting, if you can call it a sport without collapsing in laughter, is about to get a little less sporting in Pennsylvania.
Make that a lot less sporting.
In its infinite wisdom, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has given its preliminary approval to a proposal to permit hunters to use…
Yes, semi-automatic rifles.
Semi-automatic rifles, for those of you who don’t subscribe to Field and Stream or Slaughtering Animals Purely for the Fun of It, fire bullets as quickly as the shooter can pull the trigger. That depends on the manual dexterity of the shooter, with the most dexterous among them able to take as many as twenty-five shots in between five and ten seconds. The only limit: the size of the unit, known as a magazine, that contains the bullets and feeds them into the gun.
You have to wonder: why would anyone need a semi-automatic gun when hunting?
Two potential reasons come to mind for The Curmudgeon:
First, they may be really, really bad shots and it’s their only chance to kill anything.
Second, they’re just plain cruel and want to inflict maximum damage on their targets.
So why is the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which is charged with the conservation of the state’s natural resources, on the verge of permitting the use of semi-automatic weapons for the state’s hunters?
Because when the commission asked hunters what they thought about the idea, the vast majority of them had no objection to the proposal. Those who expressed concern were worried only about one thing: whether it compromised their own safety while they hunted.
According to the association’s web site, however,
Prior to a vote, Game Commission staff did a thorough review of hunter safety in states that allow semiautomatic rifles, including neighboring states and states that most resemble Pennsylvania in terms of hunter density. The review uncovered no evidence the use of semiautomatic rifles has led to a decline in hunter safety in any state where they’re permitted for hunting.
So in the end, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will approve the use of automatic weapons for hunters because it doesn’t compromise hunters’ safety at all.
The Curmudgeon suspects that the bears, deer, and other might have a different perspective on that question.