Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oregon SB1012 on The Shooting Wire

If you're not already subscribed to The Shooting Wire, you absolutely must, without delay, go here and subscribe. Do it now. We'll wait.

This is one of the most elegant 'newsletter' subscriptions avaialble anywhere. On a day-to-day basis you can go to their website and see the current issue ... but when a new issue comes out the entire content is replaced. I very much recommend that you get your own subscription, so you don't miss anything.

You've seen several articles extensively quoted on this blog, and you'll see them again. Generally, I look for the feature article (which I suspect, but can't prove, is written by the editor Jim Shepherd.) But I will no longer quote 'extensively'; if you don't have a subscription, you'll miss most of the point of this and future articles generated in response to something they have written about. The articles are copyrighted, and I am loath to infringe upon their rights to original content more than I have so far.

In this case, The Shooting Wire has picked up on the news of Oregon SB 1012, and the write-up is superior to mine.

However, assuming you have read the original SW article, there is one paragraph which is, in my opinion, a little misleading.

On the surface, the measure would seem to protect range owners from the irresponsible acts of shooters. Looking deeper, the owner, operator or lessee must be in compliance with all noise ordinances existing at the time construction of the rang (sic) began or noise control law that was existing and the allegation is from shooting activity between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m (with an exception for law enforcement training purposes) or the allegation did not result from activity on Christmas or Thanksgiving Day.
This statement is incorrect:
... the owner, operator or lessee must be in compliance with all noise ordinances existing at the time construction of the rang (sic) began or noise control law that was existing ...
In fact, the original law stated that the range complied with ordinances existing at the time construction of the range began. I have no argument with that, it seems a reasonable expectation.

The new law has changed that, and would require that the range is in compliance with noise ordinances existing at the time of the infraction.

That means that, instead of 'grandfathering' the law (accepting that the range was constructed to meet noise ordinance requirements when it was constructed), the range must now meet noise ordinances enacted after the range was constructed.

The implication is that a city or county (was: state) could enact ANY noice ordinance no matter now burdensome or difficult to achieve in compliance

A good example of the consequences is in another part of the bill. Now, range patrons are essentially prohibited from shooting on a range on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day ... presumably (although it is not specifically stated) because it is 'noisy'. Before, the law regulating shooting ranges did not prohibit 'noisy' shooting on these holidays, so if a local, county or state law was enacted to effect this prohibition ... shooting ranges would have been excepted.

This is why we say that, when you write or phone your state senator, you should urge them to reject the entire bill, not just the obviously egregious Section 1 (which contains the requirement for a 'rangemaster', and the requirement to record personal information and firearms registration).

If Section 1 is deleted, but the rest of the bill is allowed to be enacted into law, it will still have the effect of imposing an intolerable burden on shooting ranges. No other endeavor, such as heavy manufacturing, is the target (sorry) of such narrow legislation at this time.

For those of you who are not conversant with the subject, you can see my original comments here.

For those of you who are not subscribers to The Shooting Wire, and have no access to their article ... please email me (my email address is at the bottom of every page) and I will forward my copy of the newsletter unless I receive more requests than I can reasonable be expected to accomodate. I don't think I'll receive that many requests, so don't be shy ... it really is a very well written article, and worth the reading. I regret that I can't quote it in full, but I have no way to request permission to do so.

Please include your full email address, and the URL for this article (cut&paste from your browser window) to facilitate your request.

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