As a deer hunter of 54 years, I would like to offer my opinion on state Rep. Rick Saccone’s bill legalizing the use of semi-automatic rifles for deer hunting in Pennsylvania (“House Bill Would Legalize Use of Semi-Automatic Rifles for Hunting,” June 15). He states that 48 other states allow their use, that rapid follow-up shots offer a better chance of harvesting game, and there is nothing “frightening or extreme in this proposal.”
The people who want these firearms feel they have fewer rights than hunters in other states, but these hunters are not the only ones with rights. I have a right to be reasonably safe while hunting with my family, and being exposed to barrages of gunfire from firearms designed for police work and warfare is a reckless hazard that cannot be allowed.
If Rep. Saccone ever experienced the eruption of gunfire and bullets whizzing around him as I have, he would not say there is “nothing frightening or extreme.” The lawmaker’s job is to protect and serve the citizens of Pennsylvania, and we have an excellent safety record. He is expected to assist that effort, not to loosen the safety standards to the levels of other states.
Marksmanship is the essence of an ethical deer hunt. Spraying 11 shots at a deer (or group of deer) has little to do with marksmanship or ethics.
Finally, private hunting areas are becoming harder to find and landowners would be reluctant to expose themselves to these guns. Ask the opinions of seasoned hunters, landowners and the mothers with children who hunt. Then consider their rights, too.
JAMES A. MORABIT