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Jackson Co. ordinance bans shooting near homes

A new ordinance in Jackson County will prohibit shooting a firearm or other weapon within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, development recreation site or occupied area.

Supervisors, concerned about the risk to public health and safety, voted Monday to make the ordinance effective immediately.

Backers say the ordinance doesn’t bar any weapon but promotes the safe use of firearms.

Violations are misdemeanors and may carry a jail sentence up to 90 days, up to a $1,000 fine or both.

Supervisor John McKay said the ordinance is similar to National Park Service regulations.

“We made ours fit theirs so it wouldn’t be a difference in what you can do when you leave one area and go to another,” he said.

The county’s ordinance specifically states it is not designed to forbid peace officers from discharging weapons as necessary in the line of duty.

Opponents, like Carroll Clifford, a former county supervisor and active member of the National Rifle Association, said gun ownership, like car ownership, requires being responsible, said Clifford.

“I can understand it in subdivisions where houses are close together, but like in the country, I don’t see really the purpose of it. They said the ordinance has to apply for the whole county,” he said.

The ordinance does not apply if the firearm or other weapon is a shotgun, air rifle, pellet gun or a bow and arrow discharged on a tract of land 10 acres or more and more than 150 feet from a residence or occupied building located on another property.

Provisions also do not apply if the firearm or other weapon is a center fire or rim fire rifle or pistol or a muzzleloading rifle or any caliber discharged on a tract of land of 50 acres or more, and more than 300 feet from a residence or occupied building located on another property.

“You can pass all the laws you want, but it won’t stop anybody from shooting a gun. Also, you have to catch them doing it or somebody has to sign an affidavit. There are a lot of cities where there’s gunfire all night long and they’ve got all kinds of ordinances prohibiting guns,” said Clifford.