Thursday, January 27, 2011

Newberry attempting to change city laws that regulate gun usage

NEWBERRY -- Want to shoot airsoft guns, BB guns or even real guns in the city limits of Newberry?

You can't. Not legally, at least.

Recent agricultural annexations in the city of Newberry revealed that under current law, the city bans all gun use in the city, even airsoft gun replicas, except when used for defense.

So the city is now working on amending the city laws regarding weapons. The first attempted amendment was shown Monday night by city attorney Scott Walker.

No vote was taken on the amendment. Commissioners offered advice at the meeting on how Walker could reword the amendment.

The amendment states that as long as someone is a half-mile away from residential, commercial or industrial property, then he or she can shoot a gun.

Some of the problems with that were identified by gun-owning Commissioners Bill Conrad and Joe Hoffman.

A half-mile, Conrad said, is excessive. It should be reduced to an eighth of a mile or no distance at all, as long as the shooter is on agricultural property. Even airsoft guns only go a few hundred feet at most, and the bb loses a lot of its speed at the end of its flight

Hoffman countered that there might need to be some distance or some exception made, since a rifle can shoot an eighth of a mile. But, he didn't want to eliminate recreational shooting.

"Any man with a rifle, I would hope, is governed by his common sense," he said.

Maybe, Conrad also added, exceptions for hunting clubs can be added to clarify the law.

Commissioner Alena Lawson added her own recommendation that the City Commission should be more willing to err on the side of caution.

After Walker makes the proposed changes to the amendment, it will brought back before the elected officials.

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