[ 58 PA. CODE CHS. 135 AND 147 ]
Lands and Buildings; Special Permits
[40 Pa.B. 6685]
[Saturday, November 20, 2010]
To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its October 5, 2010, meeting, proposed to amend § 135.181 (relating to rifle and handgun ranges) and to add Chapter 147, Subchapter Z (relating to State game lands range permits) to require users of shooting ranges on State game lands to possess either a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a Commission-issued range permit. The Commission is also proposing to amend § 135.41 (relating to State game lands) to redirect target shooting activities of all unlicensed individuals to designated State game land ranges.
The proposed rulemaking will not have an adverse impact on the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth.
The authority for the proposed rulemaking is 34 Pa.C.S. (relating to Game and Wildlife Code) (code).
The proposed rulemaking was made public at the October 5, 2010, meeting of the Commission. Comments can be sent until January 21, 2011, to the Director, Information and Education, Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797.
1. Purpose and Authority
Over the past few years, the Commission has made large investments into its various shooting ranges located on State game lands across this Commonwealth. These investments have taken the form of lead remediation, safety barrier reconstruction, shooting range redesign and other related projects. These investments came at a high cost but kept many shooting ranges open and available to the public. Historically, hunters and furtakers have provided most if not all of the resources for keeping the Commission's shooting ranges open to the public through their license dollars. Additionally, the open use of game lands for shooting activities by those not licensed or otherwise permitted has resulted in situations where persons have used ranges and game lands for illicit activities. The Commission is proposing to regulate unlicensed recreational shooters to accomplish the twin goals of having those unlicensed persons contribute toward the cost of the program and to better quantify and control use of game lands and game lands ranges. To this end, the Commission is proposing to amend § 135.181 and to add Chapter 147, Subchapter Z to require users of shooting ranges on State game lands to possess either a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a Commission-issued range permit. The Commission is also proposing to amend § 135.41 to redirect target shooting activities of unlicensed individuals to designated State game land ranges. These proposals will not result in increased cost or change in privileges for licensed hunters and furtakers.
Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''The administration of all lands and waters owned, leased or otherwise controlled by the commission shall be under the sole control of the director, and the commission shall promulgate regulations . . . for its use and protection as necessary to properly manage these lands or waters.'' Section 2901(b) of the code (relating to authority to issue permits) provides ''the commission may, as deemed necessary to properly manage the game or wildlife resources, promulgate regulations for the issuance of any permit and promulgate regulations to control the activities which may be performed under authority of any permit issued.'' The amendments to §§ 135.41 and 135.181 and the addition of Chapter 147, Subchapter Z were proposed under this authority.
2. Regulatory Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will amend § 135.181 and add Chapter 147, Subchapter Z by replacing and creating language to require users of shooting ranges on State game lands to possess either a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a Commission-issued range permit. The proposed rulemaking will also amend § 135.41 by adding language to redirect target shooting activities of unlicensed individuals to designated State game land ranges.
3. Persons Affected
Persons engaged in target shooting activities on State game lands or designated ranges may be affected by the proposed rulemaking.
4. Cost and Paperwork Requirements
The proposed rulemaking will result in additional cost and paperwork associated with the creation and implementation of the new range permit program. This increase in cost and paperwork will be minimal and should be covered by current budgets.
5. Effective Date
The 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 the proposed rulemaking, contact Richard R. Palmer, Director, Bureau of Wildlife Protection, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797, (717) 783-6526.
CARL G. ROE,
Fiscal Note: 48-319. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART III. GAME COMMISSION
CHAPTER 135. LANDS AND BUILDINGS
Subchapter C. STATE GAME LANDS
§ 135.41. State game lands.
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(c) Additional prohibitions. In addition to the prohibitions contained in the act pertaining to State game lands and § 135.2, except with the written permission of the Director, it is unlawful to:
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(15) [Target shoot with firearms, bows and arrows or devices capable of launching projectiles in a manner that could cause injury to persons or property, or on areas posted closed to those activities.] Target shoot with firearms, bows and arrows or devices capable of launching projectiles, unless the person is in possession of a valid hunting or furtaker license signed by its holder. Exercise of privileges shall be done in a manner as to not cause injury to persons or property, or on areas not otherwise posted closed to those activities.
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Subchapter J. SHOOTING RANGES
§ 135.181. Rifle and handgun ranges.
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(b) Prohibited acts. At a rifle and handgun range located on land under Commission ownership, lease or jurisdiction, except when authorized by the appropriate regional director or a designee [for military or law enforcement training], it is unlawful to:
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(8) Possess, load or discharge a firearm for any reason without possessing a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a Commission-issued range permit signed by its holder. This prohibition does not apply to persons 15 years of age or younger or up to one person accompanying another person in possession of a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license or a commission-issued range permit.
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CHAPTER 147. SPECIAL PERMITS
Subchapter Z. STATE GAME LANDS RANGE PERMITS
(Editor's Note: The following subchapter is new and printed in regular type to enhance readability.)
147.1001. Purpose and scope. 147.1002. Eligibility and application. 147.1003. Range permit. 147.1004. Violations.
§ 147.1001. Purpose and scope.
This subchapter provides for range permits to be issued to eligible persons to authorize their holders to utilize established rifle or handgun ranges or designated clay bird shooting areas located on State game lands.
§ 147.1002. Eligibility and application.
(a) Range permits will only be issued to persons 16 years of age or older who do not possess a valid Pennsylvania hunting or furtaker license.
(b) Applications for range permits issued under this subchapter shall be made on a form provided by the Commission.
(c) Applications must include the name and contact information of the permit applicant.
(d) The fee for a range permit will be $30 for residents and nonresidents.
§ 147.1003. Range permit.
(a) A range permit issued under this subchapter authorizes the permittee to utilize established rifle or handgun ranges or designated clay bird shooting areas located on State game lands.
(b) Permittees shall utilize established rifle or handgun ranges or designated clay bird shooting areas located on State game lands in a manner consistent with applicable requirements, conditions and restrictions provided for in the act and §§ 135.2, 135.41 and 135.181 (relating to unlawful actions; State game lands; and rifle and handgun ranges).
§ 147.1004. Violations.
The Director may deny, revoke or suspend any permit for any violation of this subchapter upon written notice to the permittee.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-2198. Filed for public inspection November 19, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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