Another Update On NC Range Protection Bill

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.


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.

NC Senate Holds Hearings On Shooting Range Bill Tomorrow (Updated)

The NC Senate Judiciary II Committee will hold hearings tomorrow at 10am on SB 560 – Sport Shooting Range Protection. This bill would make the legal presumption that shooting ranges that relocated due to urban and residential encroachment is still considered to be in continuous use and is not considered to have undergone a substantial change in use.

This bill has already had a favorable report from the Senate Committee on State and Local Government.

To read the bill and see the impact of residential encroachment, go to this post.

If you are a North Carolina resident, I’d suggest contacting the members of the Judiciary II Committee to express your support for this bill.

North Carolina is urbanizing at a fast rate. The state was one of the fastest growing in population in the Southeast over the last 10 years according to census statistics. This will be putting more pressure on ranges located near towns and cities to possibly relocate. This bill would help protect those ranges and our shooting opportunities.

UPDATE: From GRNC on the hearings:

GRNC Range Protection Bill Advances

SB 560, “Sporting Shooting Range Protection,” received its second committee hearing today, this time before the Senate Judiciary II Committee, and came within a hair of getting a favorable report, which would send it to the Senate floor. SB 560 is GRNC’s bill for closing loopholes in the existing range protection law by offering “grandfather” protection against noise and environmental complaints for any range forced to relocate due to rezoning, annexation or development.

Bill sponsor Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie, Rowan, GRNC ****) did an outstanding job of presenting the bill; committee chairman Buck Newton (R-Nash, Wilson, GRNC ****) did an exemplary job of trying to move the bill despite a busy calendar; and Sen. Austin Allran (R-Catawba, GRNC ****) offered a prompt motion for favorable report.

Unfortunately, limited time and persistent questioning by anti-gun committee members Charley Dannelly (D-Mecklenburg, GRNC 0-star) and Floyd McKissick (D-Durham, GRNC *) forced Chairman Newton to defer a vote on the bill until Thursday.

SB 560 – Greater Protection For North Carolina Shooting Ranges

State Senator Andrew Brock introduced SB 560 on Tuesday in the North Carolina Senate. The bill says, in effect, that a range that moved from its present location to a new location due to annexation, road construction, zoning changes, etc. would still be considered in continuous operation.


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 14-409.46 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
“(f) For the purposes of this Article, a sport shooting range that relocates due to condemnation, rezoning, annexation, road construction, or development:
(1) Is still considered to be continuously in existence since beginning operation at its previous location; and
(2) Is not considered to have undergone a substantial change in use as the result of the location.”
SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.

The importance of this bill is due to the protections granted in NCGS § 14‑409.46 – Sport shooting range protection. If a range was continuously operated from 1994 onwards without any substantial changes in the use of the range and was in compliance with any noise ordinances at the time the range began operation, then it cannot be sued over noise issues.

With the increasing population growth and increasing suburbanization of North Carolina, ranges that used to be far from residential location are suddenly finding themselves surrounded by housing subdivisions. This protection would be very useful if they do decide to move due to development.

That certainly is the case with the Asheville Rifle and Pistol Club south of Asheville near the French Broad River. There is a new housing development in the last 5 or so years that is just over the ridge from the 200-yard rifle range. See the picture below which is a screen capture from Google Maps. You have to wonder if the developer or the people buying the houses were aware that a rifle range was just over the ridge when they purchased either the land or the homes.