Laws and ordinances exist everywhere and it sometimes seems as if they have a hand in regulating many things, even too many depending on who you ask. On a regular basis, new laws are born, much of which are not very well communicated to the public they will go on to directly impact. One such example of this is an ordinance recently affecting Missouri residents and hunters in Jackson County.
The specifics of this ordinance, known as County Ordinance 5534.2 (see page 5) are as follows:
5534.2 Unlawful Use of Weapons.
No person shall:
a. Possess or discharge a firearm or projectile weapon while intoxicated;
b. Discharge a firearm or projectile weapon in a careless or reckless manner; or
c. Discharge a firearm or projectile weapon:
(1) Anywhere within the area described as the "Urban Development Tier" in the Jackson County Master Plan "Strategy for the Future," dated January 1994, as amended; or
(2) In a manner so as to allow a projectile to travel beyond the boundaries of the tract of real property from which it was fired onto another tract not under common ownership.
This subsection 5534.2.c shall not apply to any otherwise lawful activity taking place on the grounds of a firing range or gun club as permitted under section 24005.9 of this code or under the duly enacted ordinances of any competent municipal authority within Jackson County. (Ord. 2106, Eff. 6/16/92; Ord. 4595, Eff. 12/02/1)
It has come as a surprise to some Jackson County residents that this particular ordinance exists. It was passed earlier this year unbeknownst to many members of the public. Once those affected by this new law became aware of it, they began voicing their opinions on it, opinions that were in large part not in favor of County Ordinance 5534.2.
Kevin Jamison, an attorney with a background in gun legislation who also happens to be President of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance expanded upon this ordinance and what it means:
"Jackson County has an ordinance which prohibits shooting in the "urban tier" of the country. There is a map of this urban tier but it takes some effort to get. It does not exempt self-defense. The ordinance was slipped through last December without public notice. It does allow for ranges but does not define them and no county permit for ranges exists. This complicates some of the CCW instructors who have a home range."
So what does all this mean for Missouri whitetail hunters? Well, it means that depending on your location, there will be no hunting whitetails. Or at least there would not have been, had this "No Shoot" law not been discovered and repealed. Thanks to this ordinance being overturned, it is once again legal to discharge a gun in the unincorporated areas of Jackson County, which was the case prior to the introduction of the "No Shoot" ordinance.
In truth, however, this battle is likely not over. As with anything, there are those who are for and against. In this case, the majority was against, but those who were for the change will likely make another push to pass some sort of adapted version of the law in the future. Those people want to keep their right to safety intact much as others wish to retain their whitetail (and other game) hunting privileges intact, an effort spurned by the appearance of stray bullets in the walls of dwellings, one of which included the bedroom of a small child. Stay tuned to see what other changes might develop as this situation evolves. For now, one part of the law has remained intact, that being the portion that does not allow firing across property lines.
Did you participate in the recent town meetings regarding this county ordinance? Were you for or against the repeal? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!