Essex officials delay vote on private shooting range rules

Local News

ESSEX, Vt. – At a packed meeting highlighted by passionate testimony, the Essex Selectboard decided to postpone a vote on whether to regulate private shooting ranges.

The proposed ordinance would require that private ranges register with the town, have liability insurance and meet safety standards.

The selectboard has been considering changes for more than a decade, since a man was hit and killed by a stray bullet from a neighbor’s backyard shooting range.

Residents on both sides of the issue made their case Monday.

Supporter Mark Redmond said he can “live with” the ordinance, although it’s not as tough as he would like.

“It’s kind of inconceivable that 11 years ago somebody died and nothing has changed,” he said. “We’re past the point of saying ‘I’m sorry that happened.’ We need an ordinance.”

But Sean MacEwan said it would impose burdens on private property owners who shoot. McEwan said he’s been shooting on property that’s been in his family since the 1920s.

“I’ll have a hard time having to take out extra insurance so that I can target shoot to get my gun ready for the seasons, test some ammo out that I loaded,” he said. “That’s not palatable to me.”

A special meeting on the ordinance is scheduled for September. Until then, selectboard members said they will be reaching out to the community for more input.

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