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Friday, July 25, 2008

Hanover Shooting Ordinance Public Hearing Set for October 8

Hanover County's Board of Supervisors voted on July 23rd to move ahead with an Oct. 8 public hearing on proposed changes to the county's recreational shooting regulations. County Attorney Sterling E. Rives III presented changes that were drawn up by a weapons-safety committee formed earlier this year.

The proposed changes would:

  • Prohibit shooting within 200 yards of any home, not including the shooter's home, or any other occupied building or public meeting place. This is a change from the current code of 100 yards.
  • The proposal would not change the part of the code that prohibits shooting within 100 yards of a road. It would also prohibit shooting in the county's urban service area with some exceptions, including Mechanicsville and other developed parts of eastern Hanover.
  • Expand the urban service area to include additional developed parts on the eastern end of the county.
  • Amend the county's noise ordinance to prohibit shooting that unreasonably bothers other people.

Board members also discussed other issues with the proposed regulations.

Some questioned whether a Class I misdemeanor -- a fine up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail -- is too harsh a penalty for the recreational gun offenders. They instead suggested a penalty of a fine up to $1,000 but no jail time.

Board members generally agreed upon an exception to the proposed 200-yard distance requirement if the owner of the building provides permission for the shooter to be closer than that.

Board members also asked that the noise ordinance include language that exempts people who are legally hunting during hunting seasons.

The public hearing will be held during the supervisors' regular meeting.

It is important that Hanover gun owners contact their supervisor and tell them that the proposed change to the county's noise ordinance prohibiting "shooting that unreasonably bothers other people" is too vague and should not be included in the changes.

This is just one more example of the anti-gun crowd doing an end-run to restrict our rights. If this can happen in Hanover, it can happen anywhere. Hanover is still an overwhelmingly rural county. The fact that the anti-gun crowd has gotten this far with such restrictions is a warning shot over the bow and we must do everything we can to keep them from succeeding.

Contact information for the supervisors follow:

Beaverdam District
Aubrey M. StanleyChairman (804) 449-6606 (h) (804) 449-6606 (h-fax)

South Anna District
John E. Gordon, Jr.Vice Chairman (804) 798-3879 (h) (804) 752-2040 (h-fax)

Ashland District
G. Ed Via, III(804) 550-2600 (h/w/f)

Chickahominy District
Robert R. Setliff804) 746-5553 (h)(804) 746-8476 (w)(804) 746-9209 (fax)

Cold Harbor District
Elton J. Wade, Sr. (804) 781-0044 (h) (804) 781-0413 (h-fax)

Henry District
Charles D. McGhee(804) 779-2875 (h) (804) 779-7765 (h-fax)

Mechanicsville District
Deborah B. Coats(804) 746-1220 (h)

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