Is it a rifle? Is it a bow? The answer in both cases is yes.
It’s official: legislation that would allow hunters to use the Airbow in Pennsylvania’s firearms hunting seasons has been introduced.
For those who haven’t seen it, the Airbow – made by Crosman under its Benjamin line of air rifles – is a cross between a rifle and a bow. It’s got a rifle-like stock, but shoots an arrow similar to a crossbow bolt.
The manufacturer says it will fling arrows at up to 450 feet per second, all using compressed air. There’s a video of it that shows it taking down a bison. You can see it by clicking here. A video of the Airbow on the range can be seen here.
Anyway, back in February, state Rep. Marc Gergely, an Allegheny County Democrat, said he planned to introduce legislation to legalize the tool in Pennsylvania.
That’s finally happened. Gergely introduced House Bill 2081 on Thursday. It’s got three co-sponsors: Representatives Frank Farina, a Lackawanna County Democrat, Thomas Murt, a Montgomery County Republican, and Bill Kortz, an Allegheny County Democrat.
Under existing law, it’s illegal to hunt with “any device operated by air, chemical or gas cylinder by which a projectile of any size or kind can be discharged or propelled.”
Gergely’s bill – referred to the House game and fisheries committee for consideration – would exempt airbows used “during a firearms season.”
That would keep it out of the archery woods, something Gergely says is necessary because the Airbow “it is significantly more advanced and has greater fire-power than current compound bows and crossbows.”
The bill also calls for allowing only airbows that shoot a minimum of 400 feet per second.
Gergely said a few months back that he foresees this type of tool becoming popular, especially with older and disabled hunters. It can be, according to videos, cocked and uncocked with two fingers.
Gergely explained his motivations further in a memo circulated among lawmakers.
“This is a new technology that allows for safe and easy firing of an arrow with unmatched speed, accuracy, and stopping power. Furthermore, throughout the nation, the Airbow is gaining significant popularity due to its combination of the familiar rifle experience with that of archery. Without a doubt, airbows will play a big part in the future of hunting,”he wrote.
“Given the increasing popularity of Airbows and their effectiveness, this bill will place Pennsylvania at the forefront in actualizing its potential for expanding hunting opportunities and for promoting needed growth in the sport.”
Meanwhile, one other piece of legislation impacting hunters is on the horizon.
Rep. Gerald Mullery, a Luzerne County Democrat, is currently circulating for co-sponsors a proposal that would lower the penalty for hunters who enter the woods without their hunting license.
“Presently the code treats hunting without buying a license and hunting but forgetting to bring your license as the same. To me, the hunter who purchased a license and simply forgot to bring it when going on their hunt is much different than the person who did not buy any license and goes into the woods to hunt illegally,” Mullery wrote.
Currently, the fine in both cases is $250 to $500.
Mullery’s proposal would retain that for those hunting without having purchased a license. Those caught having forgotten theirs at home would have to pay no more than $50, however.
Mullery just started circulating his proposal on Thursday. As a result, it has yet to be formally introduced as legislation.