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H.447

Introduced by   Representatives Krawczyk of Bennington, Morrissey of Bennington, Adams of Hartland, Allaire of Rutland City, Allard of St. Albans Town, Atkins of Winooski, Audette of S. Burlington, Baker of West Rutland, Bartlett of Dover, Bostic of St. Johnsbury, Branagan of Georgia, Brennan of Colchester, Canfield of Fair Haven, Clark of St. Johnsbury, Clark of Vergennes, Condon of Colchester, Corcoran of Bennington, DePoy of Rutland City, Donaghy of Poultney, Donahue of Northfield, Dunsmore of Georgia, Endres of Milton, Evans of Essex, Fallar of Tinmouth, Flory of Pittsford, Gervais of Enosburg, Helm of Castleton, Houston of Ferrisburgh, Howrigan of Fairfield, Hube of Londonderry, Hudson of Lyndon, Hutchinson of Randolph, Johnson of Canaan, Kennedy of Chelsea, Keogh of Burlington, Kilmartin of Newport City, Koch of Barre Town, Komline of Dorset, Larocque of Barnet, Larrabee of Danville, LaVoie of Swanton, Lawrence of Lyndon, Livingston of Manchester, Louras of Rutland City, Malcolm of Pawlet, Marcotte of Coventry, Marron of Stowe, Martin of Springfield, McAllister of Highgate, McFaun of Barre Town, Metzger of Milton, Miller of Elmore, Molloy of Arlington, Monti of Barre City, Morley of Barton, Myers of Essex, Niquette of Colchester, Nitka of Ludlow, O'Donnell of Vernon, Otterman of Topsham, Parent of St. Albans City, Peaslee of Guildhall, Perry of Richford, Pillsbury of Brattleboro, Potter of Clarendon, Randall of Troy, Rodgers of Glover, Schiavone of Shelburne, Shaw of Derby, Smith of New Haven, Valliere of Barre City, Westman of Cambridge, Winters of Swanton, Winters of Williamstown, Wright of Burlington and Young of Orwell

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Municipal government; firearms

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require that municipal regulations or prohibitions on the use or discharge of firearms be consistent with state law regarding hunting, fishing, and trapping and be approved by the general assembly, or be necessary to eliminate a danger to the public.  The bill would also exempt owners or operators of shooting ranges from criminal prosecution if the range is in substantial compliance with any municipal noise use condition.  In addition, the bill would prohibit persons who acquire property in the vicinity of the shooting range from bringing a nuisance action against the shooting if the shooting range was established or constructed prior to acquisition of the property.  The bill would apply retroactively.

AN ACT RELATING TO MUNICIPAL REGULATION OF FIREARMS AND HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  10 V.S.A. § 5227 is amended to read:

§ 5227.  SPORT SHOOTING RANGES; MUNICIPAL AND STATE

              AUTHORITY

* * *

(b)  The owner or operator of a sport shooting range, and a person lawfully using the range, who is in substantial compliance with any noise use condition of any issued municipal or state land use permit otherwise required by law shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution, civil liability for damages, or any injunctive relief resulting from noise or noise pollution, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.

* * *

(e)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a nuisance action for noise or noise pollution may not be brought against the owners, operators, or users of the shooting range by a person owning property within the vicinity of the shooting range if the shooting range was established prior to the acquisition of the property by the person.

Sec. 2.  24 V.S.A. § 2291(8) is amended to read:

(8)  To regulate or prohibit the use or discharge, but not possession of, firearms within the municipality or specified portions thereof if:

(A)  the regulation does not regulate hunting, fishing, and trapping as required by section 2295 of this title;

(B)  the regulation does not impede hunting, fishing, and trapping by altering the time, place, or manner of activity otherwise permitted by state law; and

(C)(i)  the general assembly approves of the regulation after public hearings to be held by the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources; or

(ii)  the town, city, or incorporated village substantially demonstrates that the regulation regulates or prohibits firearm discharge in those locations where specific firearm discharge, including, but not limited to, shotgun discharge using bird shot, would pose a clear and proximate danger to others of being struck by projectiles propelled by firearm discharge.

Sec. 3.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act takes effect July 1, 2005 and shall apply retroactively to all existing town, city, and village regulations.  Any existing regulation not satisfying the requirements of this act is null and void.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us