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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 6
    View PDF Version*

    Document Title
    Study of Local Firearms Hunting Ordinances

    Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 393 (Regular Session, 2005)

    Executive Summary
    Senate Joint Resolution No. 38 (SJR 38) of the 2004 Regular Session of the Virginia General Assembly requested the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to study local firearms hunting ordinances. In conducting its study, the Department was asked to examine, among other issues, how these ordinances could be made more uniform and consistent across the state, with particular attention paid to the development and use of model ordinances that would lead to an easier understanding by the public of the hunting laws. While the Department made some progress under SJR 38 in working with the localities to address the diversity and scope of local hunting ordinances, the study was continued for an additional year through Senate Joint Resolution No. 393 (SJR 393) of the 2005 Session of the Virginia General Assembly.

    Currently, there are sixty-five (65) localities (55 counties and 10 cities) listed in the Department's annual hunting digest as having one or more local firearms hunting ordinances. Sixty-nine (69) localities have not enacted any local hunting firearms hunting ordinances. In the 2004 work for SJR 38, the Department corresponded with all134 counties and cities for feedback on a series of eight model ordinances that had been developed as a "menu of options" from which a local governing body could select when considering and enacting (or reenacting) local firearms hunting ordinances. The Department was not advocating adoption of any ordinances in those localities that do not already have them. The intent was simply to gather feedback about the usefulness and acceptability of model ordinance language.

    Additionally, the Department conducts its "Assessment of State and Federal Mandates on Virginia Local Governments" every five years and completed the most recent assessment about mid-year 2005. This assessment is based on feedback received from the localities about hunting firearms restrictions, hunting or trapping near a highway, and carrying a loaded firearm on a public road. In conducting this assessment, the Department solicited feedback from all 325 counties, cities, and towns.

    Of the sixty-five localities currently having ordinances, a response was received for SJR 38 from 19 of the 55 counties and 5 of the 10 cities. Of the 19 counties responding, 13 indicated that the use of model ordinances would not be satisfactory in meeting the needs of their locality. Of the 5 cities responding, 4 indicated that the use of model ordinances would not be satisfactory in meeting the needs of their locality. Further, in the recent mandates assessment, the localities indicated that the mandates are doing as intended.

    In light of the information received from SJR 38 and the recent mandates assessment, the Department has concluded that there is not substantial support by the localities to change the current way of doing business on local firearms hunting ordinances with respect to the use of model ordinances.