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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

GAME COMMISSION

[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 141 ]

Hunting and Trapping; General

[47 Pa.B. 2774]
[Saturday, May 13, 2017]

 To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its March 28, 2017, meeting, proposed to amend § 141.15 (related to loaded firearms or devices in vehicles) to clarify that any air gun with a pellet or bullet ammunition in either the chamber or magazine will be considered ''loaded'' for the purposes of 34 Pa.C.S. § 2503 (relating to loaded firearms in vehicles).

 This proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.

 The authority for this proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).

 This proposed rulemaking was made public at the March 24, 2017, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until June 23, 2017, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.

1. Purpose and Authority

 In relevant part, the act of November 21, 2016 (P.L. 1317, No. 168) amended section 2308 of the code (relating to unlawful devices and methods) to eliminate the Commonwealth's historic prohibition against the use of air guns for hunting. On March 28, 2017, the Commission amended §§ 131.2, 141.22 and 141.67 (relating to definitions; small game seasons; and furbearer seasons) to define and authorize the use of air guns for small game and furbearers. See 47 Pa.B. 2710 (May 13, 2017). In light of this approval, the Commission identified a need to highlight the applicability of section 2503 of the code and this section's long standing prohibitions against loaded firearms in, on or against motor vehicles to these new devices. The Commission is proposing to amend § 141.15 to clarify that any air gun with a pellet or bullet ammunition in either the chamber or magazine will be considered ''loaded'' for the purposes of section 2503 of the code.

 Section 2102(a) of the code (relating to regulations) provides that ''[t]he commission shall promulgate such regulations as it deems necessary and appropriate concerning game or wildlife and hunting or furtaking in this Commonwealth, including regulations relating to the protection, preservation and management of game or wildlife and game or wildlife habitat, permitting or prohibiting hunting or furtaking, the ways, manner, methods and means of hunting or furtaking, and the health and safety of persons who hunt or take wildlife or may be in the vicinity of persons who hunt or take game or wildlife in this Commonwealth.'' The amendments to § 141.15 are proposed under this authority.

2. Regulatory Requirements

 This proposed rulemaking will amend § 141.15 to clarify that any air gun with a pellet or bullet ammunition in either the chamber or magazine will be considered ''loaded'' for the purposes of section 2503 of the code.

3. Persons Affected

 Persons wishing to hunt or take small game or furbearers with an air gun may be affected by this proposed rulemaking.

4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements

 This proposed rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.

5. Effective Date

 This proposed rulemaking will be effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and will remain in effect until changed by the Commission.

6. Contact Person

 For further information regarding this proposed rulemaking, contact Thomas P. Grohol, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.

BRYAN J. BURHANS, 
Executive Director

Fiscal Note: 48-417. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 58. RECREATION

PART III. GAME COMMISSION

CHAPTER 141. HUNTING AND TRAPPING

Subchapter A. GENERAL

§ 141.15. Loaded firearms or devices in vehicles.

 For the purpose of enforcing section 2503 of the act (relating to loaded firearms in vehicles), the term ''loaded firearm'' includes the following meanings:

 (1) Any centerfire or rimfire firearm that has a live shell or cartridge in either the chamber or magazine.

 (2) Any muzzleloading firearm that has a live charge of ammunition in its firing chamber and a primer, flash powder or a battery, [which ever] whichever is applicable, properly positioned in the firing mechanism of the firearm rendering it capable of discharge.

 (3) Any crossbow that has been cocked and has a bolt affixed onto the string or positioned into the firing mechanism of the device.

(4) Any air gun that has a pellet or bullet ammunition in either the chamber or magazine.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-812. Filed for public inspection May 12, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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