Senate takes aim at local gun clubs

North Country Sportsmen’s Club photo

By Guy Page

A bill introduced this week into the Vermont Senate would let municipalities to limit shooting at local, privately-owned gun clubs. One gun club says the bill would cause gun clubs to close.

S57 would amend current state law to “authorize municipalities to adopt ordinances that may limit or reduce, but not prohibit, the discharge of firearms at a sport shooting range.” The current law flatly says municipalities “shall not prohibit, reduce, or limit discharge at any existing sport shooting range.”

Sponsored by Sen. Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor), and co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Martine Gulick (Chittenden), Ruth Hardy (Addison), Richard McCormack (Windsor), Anne Watson (Washington), and Rebecca White (Windsor) the bill has been referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee, which oversees bills dealing with municipalities. 

The bill fits with other legislation introduced this session giving municipalities more power to restrict firearms – a strategy announced by gun-control minded lawmakers before the session started. Gun rights advocates say it’s a frontal attack on the Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights law forbidding municipal meddling in firearms restrictions.

S57 also flies in the face of a Vermont Supreme Court decision that protects firearms use at local gun clubs, Bob Otty, a Williston gun club president, said in an open letter sent to S57’s sponsors.

In a 2017 decision, the court agreed with the North Country Sportsmen’s Club in Williston that the town “under state law as well as its own ordinance the Town lacks authority to enforce its noise ordinance against the Club for engaging in sport shooting that is consistent with its historical usage.”

Otty also said that municipal action to “reduce, or limit discharge” would, as a practical matter, result in the closing of shooting clubs.

“Shooting ranges will close if S.57 becomes law,” Otty said. 

“The revenue a shooting range generates is often closely related to the amount of activity (“discharge” in the language of the bill) at the range,” Ottey wrote to the sponsors. “Even for shooting ranges that rely primarily on membership revenue, it seems obvious that if a municipality were to reduce discharge at a range (e.g. fewer operating days) that membership and associated revenue would plummet.  Once this is understood, it is easy to envision how a municipality may achieve closure of a shooting range within its borders by relatively quickly choking the range’s revenue streams.”

Categories: Gunrights

25 replies »

  1. I smell a rat. I wonder who pushed these lefty Legislators to write this bill ? If passed, the clubs will not be able to make any money, and this will kill shooting sports in this state.

    • Clarkson is listening to 3-4 people who have bought multi million dollar residences near the Woodstock gun club. I would guess most of them are her donors to her campaign.

  2. Of course it meets the liberals agenda. They hate the first amendment they hate the second amendment. They want you to freeze, when they take away all your fuel the idea is to drive you into begging them for stuff this is how they issue in socialism first your healthcare then you means of heating your home and traveling and now you’re sporting. These people are insane

  3. Fascists often advocate for the establishment of a totalitarian one-party state and these guys have succeeded; and are using 5th generation warfare tactics to mold, control, and capture thoughts, emotions, and beliefs; and are legislating accordingly. Our founders are rolling over in their graves.

  4. I am coming to realize that I am despised. I’m unvaxed, avoid masks. I drive a gas fueled car. My stove is gas. I burn wood and propane and I’m not getting a heat pump.And I shoot guns. At a range. Which I guess makes me public enemy number one here in Vermont these days. Somehow they still seem to want my taxes but otherwise it’s being made pretty clear that I’m no longer wanted here. Message received.

    • Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s. response in a press interview this week regarding government control, “And then the third rule that I would say — nobody ever complied their way out of totalitarian regime rules. So if you think that by obeying these rules, that somehow things are going to get better, or it is going to satiate the need to control you, it’s not. It’s just going to embolden them to do something worse the next time.”

      Non-compliance is the only thing they understand and there are more of us then them! No shooting ranges also means no place for the police to train and qualify each year.

  5. It must be clear by now that we have an intrusive legislative culture. There is no compunction about stepping into all arenas of our lives. They see legislation as the management of our misbehavior. They intend to correct our errant use of our liberties…even those enumerated by our constitution. In their world guns kill and are obviously bad…so these gun “clubs” need to be managed/controlled until they can outlaw them (and the gun nuts who inhabit them). If we are going to continue electing folks with this ascendant mindset lets not be surprised when they put forth laws dictating what color socks to wear on Tuesdays.

  6. I saw a movie where only the police and military had guns; it was called Schindler’s List. If a lawsuit is brought against these legislators who are pushing this unconstitutional law maybe they will think twice before trying this again.

  7. Yes, invest in a few flagpoles and hoist the correct ones. Assemble a group of spokespeople to defend our diversity. It sounds crazy, but we really ought to get ’em back with their own medicine.

  8. This is the direct result of rich city liberals moving to VT and getting elected into office, we’re on a fast track to this once great state turning into an overrun liberal haven cesspool.

  9. It would be nice if the elected officials would deal with the issues that affect our every day lives rather than pushing an unwanted agenda..

  10. This bill was introduced by one of my Windsor county reps Alison Clarkson..and supported by another. (Richard McCormack). They are both radical leftists who support EVERY anti gun legislation that comes across their desks. I’ve been very vocal every time they pull this crap but it never makes any difference as they both listen to only one side of the issues. They’re drunk on power.. and truly hate rural people and our way of life. This is only the beginning of the insane legislation coming our way.. buckle up folks! Get involved and spread the word to everyone who cares..

  11. Maybe Scott should go home and enjoy the time skiing and watching what happens to the state, because he will have no real say anymore. Go on vacation. Let the legislatures hang out to dry. God will decide when enough is enough..

  12. I suspect this is another situation something along the lines of moving in next to the airport, then complaining about the plane noise. I suggest we introduce a 5 or 10 year minimum residency in the state before you can run for office – also to be applied retroactively ….

  13. Witness what happens when the left are unrestrained. The breed and foster more and more control, less freedom and less liberty. They will start the second American Revolution.

  14. Not be abridged…Not be abridged … but can limit or reduce discharge of firearms at ranges, help to create shortages of ammo, limit guns until ultimately we only get cap guns, expand gun-free zones. Municipalities have too much control! BY THE WAY, in San Francisco they also passed the decriminalization of prostitution last year and the trafficking has increased (see case of 14 year old girl being trafficked by OPEN BORDER MS-13. That girl still missing because of the complete mess that City is in.) and law enforcement can not get a handle on it because they have no ability to interact with the prostitutes until they get attacked or killed. It’s a “no go” zone just as I said at our City Council meeting last year. See Michael Shellenburger articles. He’s been on the news all week. but it’s all good because no perps go to jail any more anyway, the police are underfunded, and more MS-13 come into the country every day to sell drugs and traffick kids.

  15. this is back door gun control You people moved here to get away from B>S now you bring it all with you and try to change our way of life. Did you do your homework and realize VERMONT is a hunting and fishing and GUN SPORTS STATE what if we moved next to you in the city and brought our ways to you . WHAT HAPPENED IN GERMANY ?? YOU PEOPLE NEED TO WORK ON CLEANING OUT BROOKS AND RIVERS TO KEEP FROM FLOODING AND HAVE BETTER FISHING FREE GRAVEL FOR OUR ROADS NO BLOWING UP MOUNTAINS FOR GRAVEL AND SAVE ON FUEL AND TRUCKING. COMMON THINKING – DER

  16. Every last one of these progressive radicals can Go Kiss a Moose! Vermont is run by these Marxists and they love the biden regime.

  17. After researching this further I found that if you read the bill as written these legislators don’t really separate public shooting ranges from private backyard ranges. In my mind their ultimate goal is to give municipalities the power to tell ANYONE how much shooting is “acceptable” even on private property! Did these people not swear to uphold our Constitution?! Guess that’s not that important anymore.. Very sad

  18. I remember when Vt was a greta place to live. People would hunt, Fish and help their neighbors. I have lived here for 43 years but moved here because I loved the freedoms Vermont offered. Then the people from out of state moved in and decided to make it like where they came from. Now it’s time for me to leave VT.

  19. Sadly, our vote in Vermont has been hijacked and nullified by these communists in Montpelier and beyond.
    As Vermonters it’s our duty to take back our vote and there by our state.