New Regulations for Pennsylvania Shooting Ranges

There has been quite a bit of discussion about new regulations for any shooter at the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) Public Shooting Ranges. Shooters at the ranges will be required to possess a license. Licensed shooters will still enjoy many benefits of the unlimited range use.

Unfortunately, the PGC hasn’t posted information about the practical implementation of this new policy which has lead to some confusion. Here are a few answers to address questions & rumors that have come up in response to the new shooting range license.

When will the new shooting range licenses be required?
According to the PGC, a current hunting license, furtaker license, or range permit will be required on April 1, 2011.

When will the new range permit be available?
The permits will be available for purchase from their website on April 1, 2011. It will cost $30 for both residents & non-residents. The permit can be downloaded after purchase & printed on your home computer.

How long will the permits be valid?
For the first year, all permits will be effective from April 1, 2011, until June 30, 2012. After the first year, each permit issued will be valid from July 1 until June 30.

Will every shooter require a license or permit?
Permitted shooters will be allowed to bring one guest at no charge. Youth 16 years of age and younger are also exempted when accompanied by a licensed or permitted person 18 or over. In other words, you can still share the shooting sports with new shooters & bring your kids along.

What if I don’t have a computer or printer to purchase the permit?
The Harrisburg headquarters and regional offices will sell permits, but only with a credit or debit card. No other payment options are available.

What is the fine for not possessing a permit once they are required?
According to PGC staff, these details are still being worked out. Based on our reading of the relevant codes, the fine for non-compliance will be between $100-$200 as violation is a summary offense of the fifth degree.

Don’t we already pay for shooting ranges with taxes on our guns & ammunition?
Yes, but only to some degree. Pennsylvania’s apportionment from the Pittman-Robertson Act was about $11 million this year. That fund has to serve many needs for hunters, archers, and shooters. According to the Game Commission’s testimony in recent years, they have seen their budget remain steady for years even as costs have been rising. The current budget for maintaining ranges is around $200,000, according to the agency’s website. Some ranges have had to be shut down when expenses exceed the budget.

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