Friday, June 09, 2017

North Country Sportsmen's Club - The Verdict Is In

To our Members and Friends in the Shooting Community,

North Country Sportsman's Club has won in Vermont State Supreme Court in our case versus the Town of Williston, concerning their authority to regulate our hours of operation. The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that a municipality can neither require a shooting range to enter into an agreement concerning operating hours, nor can they use noise as a justification for other regulatory mechanisms. For those interested in the details, please let me know if you would like a copy of the full decision.

This ruling affirms the legislative intent of state law protecting existing shooting ranges from regulatory overreach by municipalities (24 VSA 2291 section 8). North Country Sportsman's Club only sought to continue our operations consistent with our historical schedule, and the recent Vermont Supreme Court ruling makes it clear that we are able to do so. A different ruling could have provided municipalities with no less than a regulatory template that would have threatened the existence of shooting ranges statewide.

It is our hope that this ruling will serve as a protective barrier against municipalities across Vermont who may seek to limit the operations of existing shooting ranges within their borders. It is clear that precedent has now been set, and that doing so is not within municipalities' authority. As such, this decision will provide protections to existing shooting ranges in all of Vermont's cities and towns.

However, we will need to remain vigilant for new attempts to limit shooting range operations. In this case, our shooting community came together to stand as one against this attempt to impose such limitations on a single club. If any other attempts are made, we plan to once again stand together, and once again, win.

North Country Sportsman's Club would like to thank all of the individuals and organizations who stood by us throughout this case. Whether the support was of moral or monetary variety, to say that we appreciated the backing would be an understatement. It would be impractical to list everyone by name, but our special thanks go to the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Sportsman's Club of Franklin County, Barre Fish and Game Club, Lamoille County Fish and Game, Barre Rifle and Pistol Club, Vermont Trapper's Association, Vermont Bear Hound Association and especially the National Rifle Association for their extraordinary support. To each and every individual who gave time or money to this victory, it as much yours as it is ours, and we thank you.

Thank you,
Bob Otty
President, North Country Sportsman's Club

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