The NC Senate Judiciary II Committee held hearings on SB 560 – the Sport Shooting Range Protection bill this past Thursday. Grass Roots North Carolina reports on a weakening amendment that was proposed at the committee hearing.
On Thursday, SB 560, “Sport Shooting Range Protection” passed out of the Senate Judiciary II Committee thanks largely to the efforts of sponsor Sen. Andrew Brock (R- Davie, Rowan, GRNC ****) and committee chairman Sen. Buck Newton (R- Nash, Wilson, ****), both of whom deserve an immediate e-mail of thanks.
SB 560 is intended to close loopholes in our existing range protection law by extending the existing “grandfather” protection against noise and environmental complaints to ranges forced to relocate due to rezoning, annexation, condemnation or development.
A SMALL DARK CLOUD
After complaints that a range relocating to a different county might supersede existing ordinances, committee members of both parties, unfortunately, offered an amendment under which ranges which relocate to different counties may only do so if they meet the requirements of the new county. GRNC will work to remove the restriction. It should be noted that Sen. Newton argued vehemently against the amendment as just another anti-gun action.
The problem with this amendment is that many of the ranges that are feeling the impact from urban encroachment are in the larger urban counties of North Carolina. Twenty years ago, it would have been easy to drive 10 miles from city center within the same county and be surrounded by rural land suitable for a shooting range. Those days are gone. Now if a range is in a Mecklenburg (Charlotte) or a Wake County (Raleigh), the only way to escape suburbia is to move to a Union or Johnston County respectively. Even now, those counties are becoming the home of commuters seeking lower costs who are bringing with them the restrictions and regulations of the city.