Island County commissioners set to quash gun ban petitions
By JUSTIN BURNETT
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
March 1, 2013 · Updated 3:10 PM
A controversial proposal to establish a petition process and other requirements for establishing shooting bans in rural parts of Island County may be put down for good next week.
Island County commissioners tabled the explosive issue last year, but will rehash the plan again Wednesday, March 6. The meeting begins at 11 a.m. and will be held in the commissioner’s hearing room, 6 N.E. Sixth St. in Coupeville.
The board will not take action to approve the proposal, but will decide whether to continue the discussion and hold a series of public meetings on Whidbey and Camano islands or to drop the proposal altogether.
In 2012, Norcliffe, Sea View and Tilbury residents – communities along West Beach Road – signed a petition and requested the commissioners approve a shooting ban in their area.
They complained of one neighbor’s private firing range, claiming it was a safety hazard.
Their request was denied, but the board did green light the drafting of rules that would establish a petition process and other qualifications that would have to be met by communities before the board would consider a ban in their areas.
The commissioners already have power to prohibit shooting in rural parts of the county – the draft rules standardize the process and make clear how and where that could be done.
The proposal exploded into a Second Amendment issue and irked members of local gun ranges as the first draft was broad and left room for action against the long-established clubs.
The rules were cleaned up, exempting licensed gun clubs and protecting hunting areas, but some said the rules overstepped constitutional rights.
Also, some complained that the proposal was being considered when its head cheerleader, Commissioner Angie Homola, was on her way out the door.
The board agreed put the brakes on matter and discuss it next year, after Commissioner Jill Johnson took office.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Justin Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5054.