Covington VA –-(Ammoland.com)- The Town of Marion Town Council met yesterday to consider an ordinance change to ban the discharge of BB-guns.
Executive member John Pierce represented VCDL for me.
Here is his report. A fantastic job by John and the other VCDL members who spoke. Here's John's report to me:
When I arrived at the Marion Town Council meeting last night, the place was absolutely at capacity. They had several items on the agenda before the public hearing including honoring a local WWII veteran and recognizing several citizens for going above and beyond the call of duty for the community. But even after those people had left the council chambers, the room was still three-quarters full of people who were there to oppose the ordinance.
When the public hearing section began they first presented their comprehensive development plan which, ironically enough, touted the unique outdoor sporting opportunities to be had in Marion and Smyth county as a key to economic development. No one spoke after the comprehensive plan was presented and the council moved on to the proposed ordinance.
There were almost a dozen Marion residents who spoke eloquently and passionately about why a ban on the discharge of airguns or archery would be bad for the community. Some spoke of their childhood in the community, or that of their own children. Some spoke of their work with the Boy Scouts in the large backyards of the town. Some spoke about Virginia's dedication to hunting and fishing as embodied in the constitutional right to hunt and fish. All did a great job of representing our side of the issue.
Only one person spoke in favor of a ban. A woman with three arrows in her hand spoke about a neighbor allowing arrows to land in her yard and how she feared for her guests and her pets.
I spoke last. I told the Council that there were two components to the decision in front of them. I reminded them that § 15.2-915.4 precluded them from a complete ban on air gun discharge and encouraged them to apply the same “reasonable care to insure that the projectile doesn't cross the property line” standard to archery rather than impose an absolute ban. I noted that Vinton's ordinance (which they reportedly are using as a model) considers a projectile crossing the boundary as prima facie evidence that “reasonable care” was not taken and therefore, under such a standard, the person whose arrows intruded into the woman's yard could still be prosecuted. At this, I noted that several of the police officers in the room seemed to be nodding. I hope that was a sign that they recognized public safety could still be served without an absolute ban.
The Council agreed to send the comments back to the ordinance committee for consideration and promised that the revised ordinance would be posted in the Clerk's office upon completion with a final vote taking place at the next meeting on November 19th. I plan to contact the Clerk's office repeatedly next week until such time as the proposed ordinance is available for review and I will be in attendance at the next meeting. Once we know the contents of the final proposed ordinance, we will be able to put out an alert if necessary to insure that citizens show up to voice their approval or dismay at the Council's proposed approach.
Finally, after the meeting I was privileged to get to meet and speak with a number of the VCDL members who had originally brought the issue to our attention. It never ceases to amaze me how many dedicated advocates we have here in Virginia. It always humbles me to see person after person taking a stand for our sporting heritage! It makes me proud to have been born in Marion! [PVC: Boy, do I know that humbling feeling well. VCDL members are outstanding.]
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: www.vcdl.org