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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 17-807



[ 58 PA. CODE CH. 135 ]

Lands and Buildings; Shooting Ranges

[47 Pa.B. 2715]
[Saturday, May 13, 2017]

 To effectively manage the wildlife resources of this Commonwealth, the Game Commission (Commission), at its March 28, 2017, meeting, amended § 135.181 (relating to rifle and handgun ranges) to address various substantive and housekeeping concerns within the State game lands firearms range usage requirements.

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

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

 Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 47 Pa.B. 1477 (March 11, 2017).

1. Purpose and Authority

 State game land range users, Commission staff and other interested parties have identified a number of areas in need of improvement in the Commission's shooting range use regulation. The Commission amends § 135.181 to address the following substantive and housekeeping concerns: 1) expand the 8 a.m. to sunset operational hours on Sundays preceding regular firearms deer and bear seasons to also include Sundays occurring throughout the duration of these seasons to improve hunter access to its ranges when they are most needed; 2) prohibit range users from intentionally shooting at or damaging the target frames or stands in an effort to reduce waste and improve operational availability of ranges; 3) provide clarity that use of automatic firearms, not to include semiautomatic firearms, is prohibited at Commission ranges; 4) expand the six-round loading and discharge limitation to both rifle and handgun ranges; 5) prohibit range users from operating, manipulating or discharging a loaded firearm in negligent disregard for the safety of other persons present at or nearby the range to improve safety; 6) provide greater clarity concerning range reservation, range closure, range designation and general range usage violations; and 7) remove firearms possession related violations from this section to more closely conform to the limitations in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6109(m.3)(2) (relating to licenses).

 Section 721(a) of the code (relating to control of property) provides ''[t]he administration of all lands or 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.'' The amendments to § 135.181 are adopted under this authority.

2. Regulatory Requirements

 This final-form rulemaking amends § 135.181 to address various substantive and housekeeping concerns within the State game lands firearms range usage requirements.

3. Persons Affected

 Persons wishing to State game lands firearms ranges will be affected by this final-form rulemaking.

4. Comment and Response Summary

 There were no official comments received regarding this final-form rulemaking.

5. Cost and Paperwork Requirements

 This final-form rulemaking should not result in additional cost or paperwork.

6. Effective Date

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

7. Contact Person

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


 The Commission finds that:

 (1) Public notice of intention to adopt the administrative amendments adopted by this order has been given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§  1201 and 1202) and the regulations thereunder, 1 Pa. Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

 (2) The adoption of the amendments of the Commission in the manner provided in this order is necessary and appropriate for the administration and enforcement of the authorizing statute.


 The Commission, acting under the authorizing statute, orders that:

 (a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapter 135, are amended by amending § 135.181 to read as set forth in Annex A.

 (b) The Executive Director of the Commission shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

 (c) This order shall become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Executive Director

Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 48-408 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulation.

Annex A





§ 135.181. Rifle and handgun ranges.

 (a) General provisions. In addition to § 135.2 (relating to unlawful actions) and except as provided in § 135.182 (relating to ranges, State Game Lands No. 176), the following pertain to lands under Commission ownership, lease or jurisdiction designated as rifle or handgun ranges:

 (1) Rifle and handgun ranges are open from 8 a.m., prevailing time, until sunset Monday through Saturday and from 12 noon to sunset Sunday, unless otherwise posted; except the Sunday immediately preceding and any Sunday throughout the duration of the regular firearms deer seasons and the regular firearms bear seasons, when the hours are 8 a.m. to sunset.

 (2) A range may be reserved for exclusive use by an organized group from January 1 through October 1. Applications for a range reservation shall be made through the appropriate regional director or a designee at least 20 days in advance.

 (3) An individual may not use the range during any period reserved by an organized group.

 (4) An individual or an organized group using the range is responsible for keeping the area clean and free of debris, and may not discard, deposit, leave or throw litter except in approved refuse containers. Range users shall remove targets from range backboards when shooting is completed and prior to leaving the range.

 (5) The Commission is not responsible for anyone injured on the range. An individual using Commission- owned ranges does so at his own risk and assumes all responsibility for injuries to a person or property caused by or to him.

 (6) When more than one person is using the range, a range officer shall be designated.

 (7) An individual under 16 years of age may not use the range unless accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older.

 (8) The appropriate regional director or designee may close a range by posting signs to that effect. An individual or organized group may not use the range during a period when it is posted as closed.

 (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, it is unlawful to:

 (1) Discharge a firearm from any location on the range other than an established shooting station on the firing line.

 (2) Discharge a firearm at any target other than a paper target placed on a permanent target backboard mounted by the Commission. Users are prohibited from intentionally shooting at or damaging the frames or stands constructed by the Commission to mount permanent target backboards.

 (3) Discharge armor piercing, incendiary, explosive, tracer or multiple projectile ammunition.

 (4) Be intoxicated, use or possess an intoxicating beverage or controlled substance on the range.

 (5) Discharge an automatic firearm.

 (6) Load or discharge a firearm that contains more than six rounds of single projectile ammunition.

 (7) Shoot clay birds anywhere except areas designated by the Director by signs stating that clay bird shooting is permitted.

 (8) Load or discharge a firearm or use a range facility 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.

 (9) Operate, manipulate or discharge a firearm in negligent disregard for the safety of other persons present at or nearby the range. This is specifically intended to include loading a firearm, operating or manipulating a loaded firearm, or discharging a firearm anywhere on the firing range while another person is downrange.

 (10) Use a Commission range in violation of any other requirement of this section or posted signage.

 (c) Range designation. The default designation for Commission ranges, regardless of length or size, is as a rifle range. The Commission may designate any range as a handgun only range by posting appropriate signage.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-807. Filed for public inspection May 12, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]

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