Pro-gun supporters made an impressive turn out at the Loudoun County, Virginia Board of Supervisors meeting in an attempt to voice their opposition to the recent discharge of firearm legislation the county proposed. The legislation that had been proposed would effectively ban the discharge of a firearm within a range of 800 yards of any occupied structure without first gaining express permission from the owner of the property.
Due to the large required distance and the placement of structures throughout the county of Loudoun, if the proposed legislation had passed, it could have effectively ended both the ability to target shoot and hunt within the confines of Loudoun County in Virginia.
Both the NRA and pro-gun activists were disturbed by the proposed legislation as it would have essentially stripped the second amendment rights of gun owners and hunters in the area from exercising their second amendment rights.
Even though both groups are against negligent discharge of a firearm, they say that the restriction would do more to hurt hunters and target shooters in the area than it would prevent negligence discharge. Additionally, it could even prevent owners from being able to hunt or target shoot on their own property unless they receive permission from their neighbors.
Board member Bakara James read a message on behalf of members in support of defeating the new restrictions stating, “The good news is the proposed ordinance was rejected, BUT the bad news is that they will probably look at other options in a future meeting. So one bullet was dodged, but others may be coming.”
The meeting was filled with both gun activist sporting Guns Save Lives stickers and a variety of gun control activist groups such as Moms Demand. All waited for the amendment to come up and, when it was announced, it simply died without receiving a second on the motion.
After applause broke out, board member, Phyllis Randal denied any pro-gun statements to be made, shushed the crowd, and threatened to remove anyone who continued to clap. Randall did her best to drown out pro-gun activists and pushed the vote to the end of the agenda.
A recent motion was proposed by members Buffington and seconded by Saines which would perform a study on how to restrict shooting around or towards occupied homes. The motion then came back to look more closely at which reasonable restrictions can be put in place to prevent negligent discharge by homes without the major restrictions the previous amendment would entail.
The commission is expected to include input from a number of sources to make sure its thoroughly studied by including local hunting and shooting clubs, the sheriff, and country attorney. Some of the proposed restrictions that have come about from the study include moving lines to further western areas where there is a higher population density. While they claim that the study will affect limited regions it does run the risk of becoming out of control and result in the same restrictive limitations previously attempted.
Part of the presentation included a demonstration by the Loudoun County Sheriff along with the County Attorney which had four people shooting. The footage was of a fun shoot with at least one legally registered automatic weapon being used.
After hundreds of rounds were fired, it was believed that possibly only three had strayed. The sheriff’s department then received a 911 call stating that a homeowner believed a round might have possibly passed over the house. The attorney then stated he was unable to bring charges because there was no way to determine who would have fired the rounds that have possibly strayed and there was no real evidence that the shooters had been acting in a reckless manner. He went on to state that this is the difficulty with the current law.
Even if the amendment were to have passed there still would have been little to change the preceding scenario since without determining if reckless discharge occurred or even being able to prove that a bullet did pass over the house, the attorney would still have very little to go on regarding charges.
In the end, all an amendment like the one proposed before the board would have done would have restricted over 90% of the county of being able to hunt or shoot even on their own land. While luckily this restrictive legislation did not come to pass, it does not mean the door has been closed, and it is probably a good bet that new legislation may creep up again for board approval.
~ American Gun News