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NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation: "red-carpet treatment" for air rifle industry?

posted Jan 1, 2016, 1:16 PM by Scott Slocum   [ updated Jan 1, 2016, 1:43 PM ]
To: NY DEC, Joe Racette. wildliferegs@dec.ny.gov


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rulemaking for Big Bore Air Rifles (Part 1, Section 180.3).

Only a lawyer could love the ambiguous language of the proposed rules. They would allow that a big bore air rifle "...may be used to take big game or wildlife that may legally be taken with a rimfire rifle." This statement is impossible to decipher, either due to poor grammar or poor logic. If it's the grammar at fault (specifically, the use of the word "or" followed by a complex statement), then it conceals an alarming, new allowance--that should not be made--for hunting big game with a big bore air rifle. On the other hand, if it's the logic at fault, then it contradicts itself.

The NY DEC summary of big-game hunting regulations (i.e. "deer and bear hunting regulations," http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8305.html), says that "It is unlawful to hunt big game with a firearm using rimfire ammunition." Working from this point, using plain logic, (with or without a knowledge of rifle ballistics) the natural conclusion would be that it should therefore be unlawful to hunt big game with a big bore air rifle. 

Let me guess: of the following three alternatives, which one was the intended meaning of the proposed rulemaking?
  • Alternative meaning #1: If the intent were to allow "the use of a big bore air rifle to take wildlife that may be legally taken using a firearm with rimfire ammunition," then the proposal should plainly say so.
  • Alternative meaning #2: If the intent were to allow "the use of a big bore air rifle to take big game"--1) regardless of the fact that a big bore air rifle (of the given minimum specifications, or even of the most powerful specifications currently on the consumer market) is underpowered for the task, and 2) regardless of the fact that the use of rimfire rifles is not allowed for the taking of big game because they're underpowered for the task--then the proposal should plainly say so.
  • Alternative meaning #3: If the intent were to allow "the use of a big bore air rifle to take small game," then the proposal should plainly say so.

Whichever meaning was intended, (or if some other meaning were intended), the proposed rulemaking should specify the minimum weight of an allowable bullet at 650 fps. It would be negligent and inhumane without that restriction.


Benjamin Bulldog .357 Big Bore Air Rifle
Benjamin Bulldog .357 caliber Big Bore Air Rifle