Range Protection Laws

Posted on May 18, 2003

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Firearms shooting ranges have a long tradition of service to a wide variety of citizen groups in local communities. However, population shifts from urban to suburban or rural areas have moved new groups of citizens in closer proximity to existing ranges. In recent years, this has resulted in hundreds of lawsuits and complaints filed by newcomers against range owners or the passage of local ordinances aimed at closing ranges because of noise, times of operation and facility expansion to accommodate growing interest and shooting club membership levels. It is critical that states adopt legislation to ensure that ranges remain open for operation and that range owners are protected from civil court action, criminal prosecution, or other local board, commission, committee or similar-type body action.

  • Firearm shooting ranges have longstanding records of safely providing important public services and recreational or training opportunities.
  • Firearm shooting ranges often serve as training facilities for local law enforcement officials and military personnel.
  • Firearm shooting ranges offer firearm and hunter education and safety courses, providing invaluable hands-on instruction in the safe and proper handling and use of firearms for shooting club members or citizens exercising their fundamental right to self-protection.
  • Firearm shooting ranges serve as a location to hold both informal practice sessions and organized competitions for those engaged in recreational shooting.

Without range protection laws, safe shooting ranges that offer valuable public services, facilities at which applicants for permits to carry firearms can receive training and practice, and recreational opportunities will be vulnerable to arbitrary sanctions by local bureaucrats.

Since 1994, the number of states that have range protection laws has risen from eight to 47, indicated in green in the map below.

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