Bill Ervin, chairman of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, said the ordinance will allow residents to protect themselves and their properties.
Currently it is unlawful to discharge a firearm inside the city limits.
“Right now, you can’t even shoot a slingshot or BB gun inside the city,” Ervin said. “A resident can’t even protect his property (with a firearm).”
Ervin said he worked several months drafting the ordinance.
“It’s model after the city of Guntersville,” he said. “We tweaked it a little.”
The ordinance, if passed by the council, will not only allow the use of those weapons but any legal firearm, as long as state laws are followed.
Ervin said the ordinance was approved by the Planning and Zoning Board and is now under consideration by the council.
“We spent two months looking at other ordinances from other cities,” he said.
The ordinance is “intended to supplement exiting Alabama laws and regulations regarding the discharge of firearms…” the proposed ordinance states.
Ervin said the Planning and Zoning Board did not want to make the ordinance complicated.
“We wanted something that our citizens could understand,” he said.
Ervin said the ordinance basically allows residents to discharge firearms inside the city, as long as it is done in accordance with state laws, which includes the state’s hunting laws.
“They (the laws) have been tried and proven across the state,” he said.
Ervin said the ordinance was reviewed and approved by the city’s Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Alabama Department of Conservation game warden.
He said the former ordinance that made it illegal to discharge a firearm inside the city was old and outdated.
Ervin said the old ordinance was approved by city leaders in 1938.
“Nobody ever amended it or changed it,” he said. “Residents never kicked up enough sand to have it changed.”
He said the issue came up recently when a property owner wanted to annex inside the city, but the property owner on Dry Creek Road wanted to continue hunting on his property.
The proposed ordinance would allow the operation of an indoor shooting range as long as the facility is approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Board.
The proposed ordinance also allows the discharge of a firearm for protection or in legal defense of person or property, as allowed by state laws.
If the ordinance is approved by the council, gun owners can hunt within the city, as long as state and federal hunting game laws are followed.
The ordinance also allows “turkey shoots.”
“…at functions known as turkey shoots with shotguns only with dates, times and location are advertised and held by civic, community, or charitable groups in furtherance of their civic, community, or charitable purposes and held no more often than two times per week nor more often than 25 times a week,” the proposed ordinance states.
City officials said the ordinance would also allow people to hunt Canada Geese, which lake residents have complained about as nuisances, as long as state and federal migratory waterfowl hunting regulations are followed.
“Nothing in this Ordinance shall be constructed to allow any action which otherwise would be considered a nuisance pursuant to state law or other city ordinance, or a violation under the City noise ordinance in effect at this time and as it may be amended,” the proposed drafted ordinance states.
The public hearing is set for 6 p.m., Monday, inside the council chamber at City Hall.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org