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Posted: 02/20/13

Trustees holster firearms
ordinance for Bruce Twp

Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce officials have determined an ordinance isn't necessary for solving issues related to practicing firearms safety.
       The Board of Trustees decided against the creation of an ordinance controlling discharge of firearms, and would instead handle gun concerns as they come.
       Discussions on adopting an ordinance for discharge of firearms began in December after residents living near a firing range on Lassier Road property complained, saying they were concerned for their safety.
       No ordinances controlling firearm discharge exist in the township, meaning it defaults to state law. State laws say discharge of firearms are not allowed within 450 feet of an occupied property.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said after speaking with Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) representatives about the issue, he said exemptions for shooting ranges are different than someone participating in target practice. The DNR, though, says shooting ranges are exempted from this.
       "I'm not a lawyer or a judge, but common sense tells me that if you have enough acreage and you are not within 450 feet of an unoccupied house that you can shoot as long as you're safe," Cory said.
       Cory said shooting has ceased at the property, while the Michigan State Police closed its investigation of the matter in December. With this in mind, he said the township isn't pursuing an ordinance.
       "Right now we think the problem is done," he said.
       Karl Kubler, the owner of the range, said he would communicate with his neighbors via mail as opposed to holding any public discussions to resolve the issue.
       "I think I'll let it go at this point in time," he said.
       A resident questioned the board's decision at the meeting, asking if it would take any action if the shooting began again.
       Trustee Paul Okoniewski said he would prefer the township deal with complaints on a case-by-case basis as opposed to making an ordinance.
       "There's shooting going on year-round in the township, so you'd be trying to investigate everybody's call," he said. "I really resist creating an ordinance that's going to impact 5,000 residents of Bruce Township."
       Residents previously questioned if Kubler's activities were considered a business or not. Cory said a shooting range is seen as a commercial venture, adding that conducting concealed pistol license certification classes is not allowed outside of a home.

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