Friday, June 22, 2018

Loudoun Hunting and Shooting Ordinance Beat Back - For Now

Last night, a large number of people packed the meeting room for the Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting.  A VSSA member in attendance reported that the Board pushed back the item two hours, then the discussion dragged on for a significant amount of time before the proposal was voted down.  The Loudoun Times reports:
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors turned down a proposal to change the county's weapons and explosives ordinance following an incident in which three homes were inadvertently shot upon in May.

On Thursday, supervisors voted instead to direct county staff to study the safety concerns identified by the board and report back Dec. 4 with solutions.
A VADGIF biologist spoke and reinforced what we noted in our legislative alert yesterday regarding the deer population:
District Wildlife Biologist Kevin Rose from the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries directed the board’s attention to hunting and vehicle safety stating that more than 80 percent of the deer population is harvested with firearms in Loudoun.

The biologist added that the locality has the highest reported number of deer collisions and cause of injuries -- an average of 26 annually in the past five years -- in the commonwealth.

“We rely on firearms deer hunting to control the deer herd,” Rose said. “Any restriction that majorly handcuffs the ability -- for hunters to use firearms to harvest deer -- is going to negatively affect our ability to manage deer.”
While this situation was caused by one or more people apparently discharging a firearm in an unsafe manner, it provided the opportunity for gun ban members of the General Assembly to attempt to do at the local level what they currently can't do at the state level.  From the Times report:
In May, Democrats from Loudoun’s state delegation called for the county to outlaw the discharging of firearms.

“It is our opinion that the local zoning code better provides a mechanism to proactively reduce the likelihood of injuries or damages from stray gunfire occurring in the first place,” the letter states.
The VSSA member in attendance noted that gun owners had won a complete victory until a couple of squishy Republican members of the board threw a lifeline to the gun ban Democrats on the board, and offered up the study of safety concerns.  So, we won the first round, but may have to fight this again in a watered down form.

A special thanks to VSSA member Chris M. for attending and providing a report of the meeting and to Delegate Dave LaRock and State Senator Dick Black who were also in attendance and spoke in support of defeating the new ordinance.

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