As reported by Grass Roots North Carolina, Johnston County in North Carolina has undertaken to regulate the discharge of any projectile “within 600 feet of a dwelling”.
Those of you who have ever tried to find a place to plink an Air Rifle or practice with a compound bow or crossbow will understand the draconian nature of these “discharge weapons within city limits” ordinances.
Those of you who have yet to run afoul of these ordinances may welcome a short explanation.
Unless you live in deep woods or on open plains you will almost always be within 600 of some “dwelling” or even worse, “occupied facility”.
With most of these ordinances there is no mention of reasonably or even unreasonably prudent precautions — just a total one-size-fits-all ban.
Imagine the same restrictions applied to bug spray or weed killer or even household power washers. ( Yes, Virginia, at close range a pressure washer can injure or kill!)
Yet, somehow, a lifesaving skill such as marksmanship is singled out for special attention by every group of regulators whenever they convene in the first available phone booth.
For the harried Constitutionalist it all becomes a giant game of whack-a-mole to deal with these rogue bourgeois-crats .
Learn to just say NO. The rule you eliminate may save your life.
Text of Meeting and Minutes as posted at Subguns.com (CLICK LINK HERE)
TO: Johnston County Board of Commissioners
FROM: Berry Gray, Planning Director
SUBJECT: Firearms Ordinance
DATE: November 17, 2010
At the October Board of Commissioners’ Meeting, staff was asked to develop regulations for the discharge of firearms. Following is a proposed amendment to the County Code of Ordinances which was reviewed by the Johnston County Planning Board with a vote of 4 in favor and 4 against. Since the Board was split evenly in its decision, I have attached a copy of the Planning Board discussion so that the Commissioners can review the concerns.
County Code of Ordinances
Chapter 16 Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions
16-3. Discharge of Firearms
1) The provisions of this ordinance shall apply to all properties located outside of any municipal limits.
2) The purposes of this subchapter, FIREARM is defined as any gun, rifle, pistol or other weapon capable of discharging projectiles such as shot, bullets, pellets or similar projectile
3) It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm on or from the traveled portion of any public street or highway.
4) It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm within 600 feet of any building or area which is or is reasonably likely to be occupied, including but not limited to , any school, church, playground or park except as provided in subsection #5.
5) It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner or lessee of a dwelling or a member of the immediate family actually residing in the dwelling to discharge any fire arm with in 600 feet thereof without the written or verbal permission of the owner or lessee of the dwelling provided it is greater than 600’ from the adjacent occupied dwelling.
6) It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge an firearm in such a way as will, or is likely to, result in the projectile there of leaving the property upon which the firearm is lawfully discharged.
7) Miscellaneous exceptions. non of the provisions of this subchapter shall apply to:
i) law enforcement officers or members of the armed forces acting in the line of duty.
ii) to the shooting or killing of any dangerous or destructive animal or reptile when necce3ssary to protect life or property;
iii) to the taking of birds or animals pursuant to GS. Chapter 113, Subchapter IV, as it is from time to time amended, or pursuant to lawfully issued state or federal hunting or wildlife removal permits:
iv) to the use of firearms of defense of person or property;
v) or nonprofit special events such as turkey shoots with a valid local permit.
Items highlighted were recommended for removal based on preliminary review.
November 16, 2010 Draft Planning board Minutes:
Mr. Gray stated that the Commissioners asked staff in October to develop regulations for the discharge of firearms. This is the response to several complaints of shooting within residential areas. He added that staff researched other counties and local municipalities and most of them do regulate discharging firearms. He reminded the Board that this draft is not tin the zoning ordinance and would not be enforced by the Planning Department. It would be enforced by the Sheriff’s Office but the staff is gathering the information together through research and compiling it into this draft ordinance.
Mr. Gray also explained that this would apply within the Town ETJs
Mr. Gray read each of the points listed on the memorandum (attached #1)
Mr. Jenkins asked if Bow and Arrow was included.
Mr. Gray stated yes, it would be included.
There was discussion of the 600’ distance from an occupied dwelling. Mr. Gray added that if you five someone permission to target shoot in your yard and you live on 10 acres, then that would be allowable, as long as you gibe them permission. That, we want to make sure is understood. With the 600’ you do away with subdivision lots mostly, he continued.
Mr. Massengill stated that by listing 600’, you eliminate 80% of all properties. He suggested stating no shooting in major subdivisions.
Mr. Gray replied that defining major subdivision is difficult in that some of the problems are occurring on individual road front lots which are not part of a subdivision.
Mr. Gray added that there had been meetings with the Sherriff to discuss the ordinances and the enforcement. He also acknowledged the liability the County holds right now in not having an ordinance such as thins. especially if someone gets shot or something happens and the County has been aware of other issues.
Mr. Mills further explained that reasoning of the Ordinance. He also explained to the Board that the highlighted wording “provided it is greater than 600’ from an adjacent occupied dwelling. “ is unnecessary and removing would make the section clearer.
Mr. Mills also explained that the sheriff currently has no ability to address the shooting complains and that this Ordinance would give the Sheriff something to use even if it is just going on site to explain to the shooter that it is not legal.
There was question as to how the general public would know about this new law if it went into place.
There was brief discussion on hunting and how it relates which Mr. Gray reiterated that hunting ins exempt from the regulation due to the State Statute.
Mr. Massengill asked about the success rate in other countries. municipalities with what they are doing, specifically Durham County?
Mr. Gray stated that he wasn’t sure of the success rate but acknowledged the enforcement can be difficult.
Mr. Letchworth stated that having an Ordinance that regulating projectiles leaving the property and causing a hazard to neighbors would address the situation and that specific distance would not be necessary.
Mr. Summerlin also expressed concern with the distance and potential limitations it would cause to County citizens
Mr. Jenkins discussed that if a distance wasn’t included then the sheriff couldn’t’ enforce it. He added that it has to be tied to a certain distance.
There was also discussion on how the 600’ would be measured and the difficulty in measuring by law enforcement if they are not present to actually witness the shooting and the location.
Additionally, the re was discussion on the 600’ not being enough of the intent is the reduce noise.
Mr. Gray acknowledged that there is a noise ordinance already in place.
It was also discussed that this would only complaint driven
There was discussion on sundown being listed as a cutoff as to when someone can shoot.
Mr. Gray also added that there’s hope that everyone will be a good neighbor and either by verbal or written permission, can tell their neighbor they don’t care if they shoot less than 600’ from their property. So the ordinance does not prohibit shooting as long as the neighbors are fine with it.
Mr. Browder voted to approve the draft ordinance with the deleting of the highlighted “provided it is greater than 600’ from an adjacent occupied dwelling”, seconded by Mr. DeLaine with Mr. Browner, Mr. DeLaine. Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Smith agreeing. Mr. Letchworth, Ms. Summerlin. Mr Massengill, and Mr. Edwards voted against.
The motion to recommend approval of the firearms ordinance failed due to a tie vote of 4-4. It will be forwarded to the Commissioners for their review based on the Planning Board not being able to reach a firm conclusion/decision.
309 E. Market St., Smithfield, NC 17577
Telephone (919) 989-5150 * Fax (919) 989-5426
Text Of GRNC Alert:
Grass Roots North Carolina, P.O. Box 10684, Raleigh, NC 27605
919-664-8565, http://www.grnc.org, GRNC Alert Hotline: (919) 562-4137
GRNC Alert 12-18-10:
Johnston County Anti-Gun Ordinance – Act Now
Johnston County commissioners are considering an ordinance to ban shooting of any kind of projectile within 600 feet of a dwelling. This would include BB and pellet guns. Upon questioning, county officials admitted that this would even include bows and arrows.
Aren’t you happy that these officials want to protect you from yourselves! Once again our elected officials seem to be mistaking themselves for our mothers. It is time to remind them.
Well, the good news is that when this last came up for a vote it was tied 4 to 4 and was shelved.
Now you will have a chance to offer your opinion.
The Johnston County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on Monday, January 3, 2011, in the Commissioners’ meeting room, Johnston County Courthouse Annex, Smithfield, NC 27577.
These hearings will follow the Rezoning and Special Use Hearings and other regular business, which begin at
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
Email AND call ALL Johnston County commissioners using this link:
Attend the meeting on Jan. 3 at 6:00 p.m. Let’s do our best to pack the room at 207 East Johnston Street in Smithfield.