As Roswell looks to make minor changes to its discharge of firearms ordinance the matter has stirred up renewed dissatisfaction with the city's handling of weapons permitting, causing the city to send the potential ordinance amendments to a March work session for further review.
The city first adopted its discharge of weapons ordinance in 2005, which some thought to be unnecessary since the state regulates hunting and a permit is not needed to discharge a firearm at an indoor firing range or to defend self or property. But acting Police Chief Rusty Grant says more clarity on the ordinance is needed due to the fact there have been 175 permits granted since the ordinance was passed and the city has no way of knowing how many are still active or where they're being used.
The proposed amendment would clean up some of the ordinance's original language, as well as require permit holders to pay a fee and renew annually for firearms, air guns, BB guns, bows and crossbows. They would also need to show written permission given by the private property owner within one month of application.
But local resident John Monroe seemed to believe the majority of the proposed amendments were aimed at law abiding hunters. He told Roswell City Council on Monday night that he felt existing state laws regulate hunting and trespassing sufficiently, which he believes makes an overlapping city ordinance entirely unnecessary.
Bob Coombs, also a Roswell resident, agreed, noting the state already requires property owners to give written permission to allow hunting on their property. He also spoke of a growing deer poplulation which cause frequent accidents and how hunters have been encouraged by the state to take down 10 doe and two bucks per season since 2002.
"There’s no [city] in the state that un-incentivizes harvesting a doe like the city of Roswell," he said.
But Councilwoman Becky Wynn, who said she comes from a family which hunts, denied the city was trying to discourage or impede upon local hunters.
"We're just making sure the person discharging weapons has permission from the property owner," she said.
Still, the council acknowledged the amendments could use some work.
While Councilwoman Betty Price questioned the need for changing the original ordinance at all except to perhaps incentivize controlling the deer population, Councilman Jerry Orlans asked for information on how neighboring cities handle the issue. Councilman Kent Igleheart wanted to nix the proposed fees associated with renewal and Mayor Jere Wood thought residents shouldn't have to get a city permit for bb guns, he also believed the renewal timeframe should be longer than one year.
They voted to unamimously send the proposed amendments to a council work session on March 12.