Saturday, April 19, 2014

AZ: Zoning Overreach Results in Legislative Protection of Private Shooting Rights

Last year, a landowner in rural Yavapai County, Arizona, was finally vindicated in a hearing after a prolonged legal battle with local zoning officials.  The case involved local officials who claimed that they had the power to shut down shooting on private land, because shooting was not an "approved use" in the zoning code.  The closest complaining neighbor was  miles distant from the property. 

A common practice in "model" zoning codes is to invert the ordinary structure of American law, claiming that everything that is not allowed is prohibited, instead of the long recognized construct of everything that is not prohibited is allowed.

A Yavapai County bureaucrat is quoted as testifying at the hearing:
If a County Ordinance doesn’t permit the activity, the activity is disallowed. No shooting allowed under Ordinance 400, so “no shooting as a matter of right” Simply stated, “you are not allowed to shoot cans on your property.”
Second amendment supporters said that they would seek legislative redress to this abuse of bureaucratic power, and they did.    HR 2483  preempts local  codes that:
4.  Prevent, restrict or otherwise regulate the otherwise lawful discharge of a firearm or air gun or use of archery equipment on a private lot or parcel of land that is not open to the public on a commercial or membership basis.
The law is clear that if the shooting activity takes place more than a quarter mile from an occupied structure , it is protected.   It can take place within a quarter mile if permission is granted.  It appears that there is some protection for people shooting on private property that is closer than a quarter mile, in that if damages are alleged, then:
D.  In an action alleging damages from the loss of property value due to the otherwise lawful discharge of a firearm or air gun or the use of archery equipment on a private lot or parcel of land that belongs to another person, the lost value shall be proven by clear and convincing evidence.
What is fascinating about this legislation is that it is a reaction to zoning overreach.   That is almost never seen.   Local elites guard their zoning power with considerable zeal.   It offers more opportunities for abuse than much of the rest of local code.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 


Wireless.Phil said...

Always wondered, who is this woman?

Dean Weingarten said...

She is the niece of a friend of mine that I met at church.

I needed a source of pictures to use on the blog, and we did a photo shoot so that I would have them available.

Wireless.Phil said...

Just wondered thats all.