Sussex VA Shooting Range Ordinance Unprofessional, Inept & Confused

Sussex VA Shooting Range Ordinance Unprofessional, Inept & Confused

Virginia Citizens Defense League
Virginia Citizens Defense League

Sussex, VA –-( Last night about 30 pro-gun citizens showed up at the Sussex Board of Supervisors meeting to speak against an ordinance that would make having a range in Sussex almost impossible.

The Wakefield Airport Shooting Club President, Tim Drury, and I went over the lengthy list of problems with the proposed ordinance and decided who would cover what issue when we addressed the Board.

One of the Board of Supervisor members, Mr. Fly, did a great job in tearing the proposed ordinance to pieces before any of us had a chance to speak. And time after time he asked the chairman of the Planning Committee questions: Why were they even considering this ordinance? Why is the ordinance putting restrictions on INDOOR ranges as to time and days of operation? And so on.

The Planning Committee looked like deer in the headlights – no one providing one straight answer to any of his questions about the proposed ordinance. They looked very inept, unprofessional, confused, and disengaged.

Mr. Fly said that the only part of the ordinance he would support was the offset from the range to the nearest residence and road. He said that was about all they could legally regulate on ranges.

The first citizen to speak was a very articulate gentleman who opposed the ordinance.

Tim, who is a lawyer, went second, addressing various issues including:

  • It would not be possible to post all state, federal, and local gun laws, expect someone to read all of them, and sign a document stating that they understand all those laws before they could shoot
  • It would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act to require the range safety officer to walk the entire perimeter of the shooting range before allowing people to start shooting

I addressed mostly legal issues dealing with preemption:

  • The County cannot ban ammunition larger that .45 caliber on the range
  • The County cannot make people enter and exit the ranges with only unloaded guns
  • The County cannot tell citizens that they are not allowed to shoot explosive-tip, armor-piercing, or Teflon-coated ammunition on the range
  • I pointed out that their micromanagement of the range was unworkable and unacceptable
  • I told them that if they violated the State’s preemption laws, VCDL would sue them, they would lose, and they might have to pay VCDL’s legal expenses as well

Several other speakers, all opposing the proposed ordinance, came to the microphone after I sat down.

When the time came to vote, there were a couple of proposed amendments (one to remove the restriction banning shooting on Sunday) and then the vote. After more back-and-forth they finally voted to send the horribly flawed ordinance back to the Planning Commission for further study.

At this point the proposed ordinance is in limbo. Once the Planning Commission decides to have their next hearing on the ordinance, we need to be at that hearing to see what they come up with and to address any issues. I hope that they just decide to can the whole thing.

Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL). VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right. Visit: