By Howard Meyerson
Legislation that would permit hunters to use certain rifles and ammunition in the state’s shotgun-only zone is on the move once again in the state Capitol. House Bill 4283, introduced last February by Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, was voted out of the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism in November.
The bill adds .35 caliber or larger rifles to the list of already allowable firearms in the shotgun zone – pistols, shotguns and muzzleloaders. Hunters using rifles would be limited to only ammunition that is now allowed for pistols: straight-walled cartridges with a minimum case length of 1.16 inches and a maximum length of 1.8 inches.
“This was brought to use by one of our constituents,” said Susan Martin, Rep. Lori’s chief of staff. “It’s for those who find a shotgun kick is too hard to take. Using rifles with this ammunition is much easier and the bullet doesn’t travel any further than a pistol shot would.”
Michigan’s shotgun zone encompasses all counties in the lower third of the state including the Thumb region. It covers the most densely populated areas of Michigan. Law enforcement officials say the designation was established due to safety concerns. Shotguns have shorter killing range than high-powered rifles.
If the bill passes and is signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the existing shotgun zone would be renamed as the “limited firearms area.” Continue reading