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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Stafford County Considering Changes to Air Gun, Archery Ordinance

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports that Stafford Board of Supervisors on Tuesday considered amendments to the part of the county code that deals with how pneumatic guns, firearms and arrows can be used, bringing the air gun ordinance in line with state law:
The amendments allow pneumatic guns to be shot outside of the county’s no-shooting zones. Under the changes, pneumatic guns including BB guns, paintball guns and pellet guns would be allowed at facilities approved for shooting ranges, properties where firearms can be shot and on private property with permission of the property owner as long as “reasonable care” is taken to prevent a projectile from crossing the property’s boundaries.

With the proposed changes, those under 16 wouldn’t be able to use pneumatic guns unless they are accompanied by an adult. Punishments for violators were relaxed under the proposed changes from a Class 2 misdemeanor to a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Currently, pneumatic guns can’t be used in no-shooting zones, on public streets and in public places.
One Supervisor questioned why 16 was chosen as the age that requires supervision by an adult.  County staff noted that the Code of Virginia references the restriction and Sheriff Charles Jett said his office doesn’t have any statistical data that indicates that an air gun is more dangerous in the hands of a 14-year-old versus a 16-year-old.

The proposed changes to the archery ordinance was similar to the air gun change.  Currently, the county allows arrows to be shot only by licensed hunters or at archery ranges. In line with state law related to shooting air guns, the proposed changes would allow property owners to have archery target practice on their land as long as the other properties aren’t impacted.  Supervisors voted to place the matter with a county committee.

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