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Time and again, we hear that the #1 reason people buy guns is to use them for concealed carry or home defense. The implied purpose: shooting bad guys. We often don’t like to think of the situation for which we are preparing when we head to the range to practice with our concealed carry firearm, but by using proper targets (human-shaped ones, to be specific) the training becomes useful, effective and applicable to the stated purpose of the firearm. But one Pennsylvania politician thinks that the idea of people using people-shaped targets to train themselves is beyond the pale, and plans to ban any target not hunting-related in the state . . .

From Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland:

In the near future, I will introduce legislation amending Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, which will address the use of human silhouette targets at shooting ranges.

Rather than perpetuate violence by continuing to allow individuals to practice their target shooting by shooting at human silhouette targets at shooting ranges, my legislation will prohibit the use of targets that depict human silhouettes at shooting ranges across the Commonwealth. Instead, silhouette targets could include, but are not limited to the following: white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, and elk.

My legislation creates a new section under Title 18 Chapter 61 regarding firearms and other dangerous articles. Specifically, the bill prohibits the use of human silhouette targets at shooting ranges across the Commonwealth except by law enforcement officers, military personnel or other public safety personnel in line with their official duties. If a person violates the provisions of the new section, he or she will commit a summary offense.

Rep. Kirkland seems to be one of those individuals who subscribe to the idea that the only people who should be defending themselves with a gun are the police, and that the only reason anyone should own a gun is for hunting. While he might not like the idea of an average citizen being able to defend themselves from bad guys, but it happens thousands of times every year and saves countless lives. By signaling his intent to ban human-shaped targets, Rep. Kirkland is also signaling the fact that he doesn’t care about those people and would prefer them to be poorly trained, simply to satisfy his need for the targets to “look” peaceful.

Sacrificing effectiveness and actual security in the name of appearances and feelings…this is the way of the gun control advocate.

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  1. Stupid. And, even if this law is passed, it would be easy to get around. After all, a rectangle stacked on top of a larger rectangle can be scaled to the same size as a human torso and head, and yet not be “human shaped”. Hell, for that matter, a target with the silhouette of a Lego minifig would be infinitely entertaining…

    There really should be a law against people passing laws simply because they want to ban something they personally find “icky”.

    • “a target with the silhouette of a Lego minifig would be infinitely entertaining”

      Particularly to anyone who has stepped barefoot on legos in the middle of the night.

    • Actually, it doesn’t even take a “law” to end use of silhouette targets at ranges, just a gun club such as the one I belong to (but not for long) to ban the use of such targets at its range- even for IDP/Self Defense classes. Unaware of the “rule”, I was successively abraded for bringing my own for practice, but never told it was against the club rules until I applied for a position as an IDP-RO, at which time I was made aware of the sin I was flagrantly committing. It seems that guns are only for target shooting, not self defense.

    • Apparently, he not only doesn’t care about the second amendment, but he want’s to trash the first! Something tells me, that if Muslims in that region wanted to use these targets for “religious purposes,” he would be all for it. Quite a double standard. Is he going to ban violent television programs and movies? Maybe he should limit soda size while he is at it . . .

  2. The people get what they elect. Of all the problems & concerns the state may have, this is the lowest priority of an elected official.

    • Bingo.

      The second google image result shows the esteemed representative wearing a hoodie for Trayvon Martin. We all know who he’s trying to stop and it’s not gangbangers…

    • Exactly. What they are trying to ban is expression of an idea. This amazingly stupid law screams 1st Amendment violation.

      Of course an anti-gunner has about as much respect for the 1st Amendment as they do for the 2nd Amendment. Rights don’t matter. To them the important thing is crushing political enemies. Enemies, like you and me.

  3. I’d like to see this followed by TTAG a little more closely than most reports of spurious legislation. Let’s put his failure on display.

    • It will be interesting to see, but more likely than not, it is fodder so he can put it in his newsletter to make believe he is tough on violence when he has actually done nothing nor will this law do anything — but for the unknowing masses, it feels good.

      • This. It’s for show. The legislation won’t pass, but it will give the greater Philly area reps like this dude something to vote for. He promised his retarded constituents utter, drooling stupidity, and he wants to show that he’s trying to deliver.

        • ^^^^This^^^^^ This sort of crap gets proposed regularly. Fortunately it’s going nowhere as long as we keep paying attention.

    • Zombies, Elves, Orks, Terminators, Predators, Rock eaters, Goblins, Political hacks, the list of non human subjects goes on and on.

  4. The bad guys are ignoring our gun control laws?

    Well let’s outlaw targets!

    Makes perfect sense, this guy should run for the senate.

  5. A Democrat from SE Penna with no clout, esp with a larger Republican House and Senate now. Anti gunner from one of the most crime ridden parts of Penna, Chester.

  6. Finally I can practice shooting at all the Wild Turkeys, Black Bears and various tail deers which break into my house and assault my family so it won’t happen again. Again.

  7. “continuing to allow individuals to practice… ”

    “Allow?” I wasn’t aware that they were allowing or disallowing us to do things. I wasn’t aware that it is the government’s place to decide what we are and aren’t allowed to do, I thought it was our place to decide what they are allowed to do….

    • You, sir, win the internet today. Unfortunately, your words will never reach the eyes or ears of anyone in position to change anything simply by being posted here. That guy is simply ignorant of guns, the people who carry them, and even the constitution. There is zero chance that he takes the time to learn about these things before attempting to pass laws governing them.

      That being said, it’s a great thing that this will never pass. And even if it does pass, it’s unenforcable. First, because people can actually print their own targets to take to the range, and second because the first amendment gives me the right to express myself however I feel, and if I want to express myself by shooting at something that looks like a bad guy, I’m covered.

      Then again, that would require this douhecanoe know about the first amendment. He knows nothing about any of the other ones, so I doubt he has taken the time to learn about the first.

  8. So I suppose using a target of Big Bird or Shrek is still cool then right?

    Maybe we can start a new category like IGOTD:

    Daily Feel Good Legislative Shenanigan

  9. His bill won’t get out of committee.

    Further, if I want to use the silhouette of Osama Bin Laden or some other enemy, it is protected speech (freedom of expression ).

      • The indoor range that I frequent sells them.

        The two clubs that I belong to do not allow them (or concealed carry, loading more than 5 rounds, or rapid fire).

        The indoor range doesn’t care about anything except basic firearms safety.

  10. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman points out that using silhouette targets post-WWII was one factor that helped increase individual soldier’s firing in combat from 14% to 50% in Korea.
    Banning life-like targets for could contribute to deadly hesitation for some good guys.

  11. I seriously wonder what they put in the water up there. Passing laws about things you have ZERO knowlege about is simply infuriating.

    He wants to save lives by stopping crime and this is the law he pushes? When is the last time someone saw a criminal at a shooting range? Most ranges make you sign in and show ID at the door. Criminals don’t do that. They go to the ghetto/woods/back yard and shoot at beer bottles. It’s pretty well documented that there are “unofficial” ranges in large cities where thugs to pop off a few rounds with new guns.

    This isn’t about fixing crime. It’s about controlling people. Plain and simple. He has the power to pass laws, so he does.

    • “I seriously wonder what they put in the water up there. Passing laws about things you have ZERO knowlege about is simply infuriating.

      This isn’t about fixing crime. It’s about controlling people. Plain and simple. He has the power to pass laws, so he does.”

      indeed, this is *not* a case of someone legislating about an issue they do not understand. Their goal is to remove guns – and more to the point, rights – from the hands of we-the-people, that is to increase state power and decrease individual liberties.

      The subject here, firearms and firearm related activities is immaterial, all these people realy understand is more government power, less individual power, and this proposal acts in that interest. These poeple know exactly what they are trying to do and why. This is also why the constitution never gets in the way, they don’t know much about it anyway.

      And note well, this is a great example of the camels nose. A ‘common sense’ gun law is not what they want, these things are just wedges to get their agenda one step further along. They will never stop legislating, whenever they make progress on any front, they will always then go the next step and work towards restricting whatever else they can get away with. Lather, rinse, repeat.

      Once the camels nose is in the tent, the rest of the camel isn’t far behind.

  12. Many moons ago, I went to my local range and purchased some silhouettes to shoot. I had a few black targets, but needed a few more.
    The clerk handed me blue silhouettes. I had a pretty good shooting time at the range; and brought one target of each color, to hang at work the next day. I labelled the black one as ‘target’; and the blue one as ‘politically correct target’. I might have been ahead of my time.

    • Hang a target at work now, and you’d probably be getting a visit from HR. Or worse, someone would have a case of pants-sh*tting-hysteria and call the cops.

      • If I have a ‘good’ day at the range, I bring my targets to work, and hang them in my cube. Most of my co-workers are POTG anyway, so I don’t get any static. I also have one of those ‘Complaint Dept. – Take a number’ grenades on my desk. I place it on top of the bomb threat warning card that we got from the security dept.

  13. What alphabet .gov agency got in some heat a year or two ago for using human targets of a pregnant woman, old grampa, young teenager?

    I like the 1950’s BG targets where the BG is pointing his pistol back at you.

    Can I draw a smiley face on my Dixie paper plates? Or will that be banned too from this clown? What about my Usama Bin Laden targets?
    Sigh! These people never stop.

  14. This fucking idiotic, rectally-birthed, pile of wasted human potential actually thinks silhouette targets promote violence?

  15. Card board and some scissors… you got a silhouette target.

    Just like every other idiotic law, there is a really simple work around.

  16. Let me see, I have a piece of paper with an imag on it,
    I can do anything I want with it. EXCEPT put a hole in it with a bullet. This is insane. We are governed by the insane.

  17. Agree with it or not-fact is many ranges do not allow for the use of targets which depict humans. The public one operated by the County of Miami-Dade is a good example-no humanoids live or undead. That being stated, the idea of a politician taking time to attempt to codify that into legislation COMPELLING said behavior is clearly a ‘solution seeking a problem’. “You all voted me in………don’tcha dare complain as to what I do now”…… Makes one wonder what his platform was during the election cycle-“once in office I promise to…….”

  18. If only there was an amendment to the Constitution that dealt with limiting the power of the government to regulate a citizen’s creation of images and use thereof…

    • . . .and maybe one that limits the power of the government to restrict a citizen’s keeping and bearing arms. . .

  19. So one wonders how they would define human silhouette? Is it the image of the shape, and if the shape how close are we talking? Will that mean my favorite uspsa target will be banned in PA or that i can’t use my action target hostage torso?

  20. Personally, like Birchwood Casey® Shoot-N-C® Self-Adhesive Bull’s-Eye Targets for handguns. For shotgun, like gallon size water filled plastic milk cartons, to shoot on family owned rural property.

    • If you have a private range you really need to get some steel targets.
      Nothin’ funner than making plates ring. And you don’t have to keep replacing them.

  21. He is just an angry little weasel that can’t get his way in banning firearms. This is his way of being in our face and saying up yours to those of us who are law-abiding gun owners. The stupid voters that put him in office will keep voting for him because they feel he cares. It is all about getting votes, that’s all it has ever been and that is all it will ever be.

  22. For some reason this story makes me think Agent J at the range:

    Zed: May I ask why you felt little Tiffany deserved to die?

    James Edwards: Well, she was the only one that actually seemed dangerous at the time, sir.

    Zed: How’d you come to that conclusion?

    James Edwards: Well, first I was gonna pop this guy hanging from the street light, and I realized, y’know, he’s just working out. I mean, how would I feel if somebody come runnin’ in the gym and bust me in my ass while I’m on the treadmill? Then I saw this snarling beast guy, and I noticed he had a tissue in his hand, and I’m realizing, y’know, he’s not snarling, he’s sneezing. Y’know, ain’t no real threat there. Then I saw little Tiffany. I’m thinking, y’know, eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters, this time of night with quantum physics books? She about to start some shit, Zed. She’s about eight years old, those books are WAY too advanced for her. If you ask me, I’d say she’s up to something. And to be honest, I’d appreciate it if you eased up off my back about it.

  23. Maybe we could just put the “Kirklund” dude up front instead of a silhouette!
    Note: Spelling, or misspelling was done purposely!

  24. What a maroon. Which animal is most shaped like a human animal? A weasel? A turkey? A snake? Oh I know a kangaroo with boxing gloves…

  25. Okay, give me a large piece of newsprint paper and I’ll draw a square box where center mass used to be and shoot at it, while imagining the rest, Same difference. If this person wants to shoot only animal targets, I’m calling PETA on him….

  26. “Instead, silhouette targets could include, but are not limited to the following: white-tailed deer, black bear, wild turkey, and elk.”

    Wait till PETA gets wind of that proposal.

  27. Urban legend holds that the reason most human-shaped targets are blue nowadays is because the NAACP complained that black targets conditioned cops (and people) to shoot black people…

  28. “Rather than perpetuate violence by continuing to allow individuals to practice their target shooting by shooting at human silhouette targets at shooting ranges, my legislation will prohibit the use of targets that depict human silhouettes at shooting ranges across the Commonwealth.”
    We should you silhouettes of politicians – they’re not human.

  29. Bet the Rep would dig the life sized zombie mannequin targets that spurt blood when you shoot them! My in laws bought one, it’s pretty fun because it is so stupid.

  30. “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding” – Justice Louis D Brandeis

  31. Probably won’t be any surprise to most of you folks on here but some San Francisco Bay Area ranges have had the same rules for a couple years now. Just another example of PC stupidity.

  32. What’s next? Ban piñatas because they promote violence against flamboyant animals? Good grief.

    Just another ludicrous, grandstanding display by an emotionally manipulative, morally bankrupt politician.

  33. What about simulation video training? Gander Mountain runs defensive, shoot don’t shoot programs at some of their stores. Are they going to ban people from shooting at video’s of real people next? Where will it end?
    Personally, I don’t like to pay for the amount of paper in a man target. I hang my circular targets at a height that represents center mass. Besides, a scowling paper man will not be a threat you’re likely to see in real life.

    Not that it matters, but the 2nd A doesn’t list hunting or sport shooting, as the reasons it was written.

  34. The BC27 Green is not a human silhouette. It is the silhouette of a beer growler. And the Transtar Blue is Casper the Friendly Ghost, an already dead fictional non-human entity that bullets and everything else passes through and does no harm. What is wrong with that politician?

    Actually, I prefer the five or six bullseye targets on one sheet. Easier to see where I am hitting, or not hitting, optimal for a 25 or 50 round box, and more challenging than just blasting the center mass of a paper beer growler.

  35. Um….isn’t the entire civilized world currently in a state of shock and outrage in defense of the right to do whatever one wants with a piece of paper, even (or especially) if some fringe wacko finds it offensive?

    Je suis a shooter of humanoid targets!

  36. Perhaps we should also ban provocative clothing–to stop rape, or ban cars–to stop drunk drivers, or let’s ban drugs so no one gets addicted–we all know that works!

  37. Since his district includes the city of Chester, which had 20+ murders last year, I guess he think the criminals in his district are buying the targets to practice with. The city of Chester is a majority of dark skinned Americans. They do not go to the range to practice. So let’s go after the law abiding citizens. This way when the scum of Chester come out of their town we will not have enough practice at shooting humans. I have yet to see a White Tail Deer break in to a house in my town, which is two towns away from Chester.

  38. I can’t even believe this. Like… I utterly refuse to even believe there is an elected representative planning to devote time and resources (and tax dollars) to banning a paper shooting target type. I mean… there HAS to be some underlying motive here. Publicity stunt of SOME kind. Maybe he needed a reason to not get re-elected?

  39. So if I get a Planet of the Apes target would that be ok? Noooo that’d certain hurt her feelings too.

    How about a the Himalayan Snow Man?

    • So, you gotta thing about snow men? They beat you up when you was a kid? Why ?

      What are you gonna shoot at them with? Hairdryers? Weapons of melt destruction?

      And why you singling out Himalayans? You are seriously messed up.

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • HEY! BE NICE! Just because some of us get freaked by corncob pipes and button noses doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it! 😛

  40. What an idiotic idea…this is why we should never elect morons to government office. If i can hit a bulldeye target at 25 yards, i am.pretty sure i can hit a human at the same distance. The shape of the target does not matter, it is where you can accuratly hit it at the prescribed distance…what an idiot


  42. Guess where there is a range that already has this rule? Where you cannot use a target during regular range hours that resembles any living creature. I tried drawing a smiley face on a paper plate target and was told by the range officer it was against range rules. The reason? They allow qualified and supervised kids on the range and they feel it would not be PC to have kids see humans or animals getting shot.

    It is none other than the NRA HQ Range in Fairfax, VA.

    Yes I know it is different choosing to make these rules than being forced to, but all this guy in PA has to do is say, “See, even the NRA has this rule!” I have also heard the excuse that it would be fodder for anti photographers, but the range does not allow pictures and I think it would be hard to get a decent pic without one of the range officers noticing. They are everywhere. This is a case of “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    • Actually, the Boy Scouts had a similar rule and still do for the cubbies with BB guns. However, they have now allowed game silhouettes at the Scout level where they shoot .22’s.

  43. It’s almost like some idiot gets up one morning and says,what’s something really dumb and stupid,i can do today,seriously.

  44. Another lawmaker that obviously only believes our 2nd Amendment right applies to hunting. Perfectly OK to shoot at a picture of a deer, but not a fictional human character? I would not belong to any such club that bans them, if you want to train for self defense against humans then you need to shoot at silhouettes. The police and military certainly do. I don’t see what harm it causes and it certainly can’t be proven that it makes it more likely that you’ll shoot a person just because you practice on a human silhouette. And most anyone this bothers would never be at a gun range in the first place, it’s simply a harassment tactic and nothing less.

  45. I ran this post by Prof. Eugene Volokh (of the Volokh Conspiracy law blog), and while he agrees that there are First Amendment problems aplenty with this kind of silly law, he also points out that it have been upheld in the past:

    Now, granted this was the First Circuit (Mass, NH, RI, ME [plus Puerto Rico]), but nevertheless it is circuit level authority blessing this kind of nonsense.

  46. So, he thinks it’s OK for the *police* to practice shooting people – that is, citizens, But it’s not OK for the citizens to practice shooting people. You, sir, are a menace to the Republic, and should be tarred and feathered – at a minimum.

  47. Easy get around make targets of a white tailed deer standing on hind legs , holding a pistol in his hooves! Stupid politicians….


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