Friday, February 21, 2014

County specifies no-shooting zone

But state law limits effect

Express Staff Writer

     Prompted by the well-publicized shooting of two elk at the Hulen Meadows subdivision in November, the Blaine County commissioners on Tuesday tightened a county ordinance regarding shooting near houses. However, they acknowledged that it would have little effect given limitations imposed by state code on counties’ ability to regulate firearms.

     Three Hulen Meadows residents attended the meeting at the old Blaine County Courthouse, requesting farther no-shooting boundaries around residential areas. They said six elk were killed very close to Hulen Meadows houses in early November.

     “It’s unsafe,” Spence Browning said. “We just want to protect our homes.”

     “I don’t want to have to live inside my house when there are hunters around,” said Jima Rice.

     Since 1982, Blaine County code (4-2-1) has included two contradictory ordinances on the subject—one that prohibits shooting within 150 yards of a house and another that prohibits shooting within 1,000 feet of a house, outbuilding “or other area where livestock are concentrated.”

     Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves told the commissioners that both ordinances were passed within two weeks of each other. He said it appears that the board of commissioners passed the 1,000-foot ordinance first, then intended to supersede it with the 150-yard ordinance. However, he said, the first ordinance was never taken off the books.

     “There must have been some backlash to make that radical change two weeks later,” he said.

     At the very least, Graves advised, the county should delete one ordinance or the other.

     However, he pointed out, state code (18-3302J) severely limits the circumstances in which a county can regulate shooting. It prohibits county ordinances from applying to legal hunting, defense, shooting on one’s own property and target ranges.

     The county would be unable, therefore, to prohibit the shooting incidents that occurred at Hulen Meadows.

     “It’s all subject to the limitations of Idaho code, which largely guts our enforcement ability,” Graves said.

     He said the county could pass a more restrictive ordinance than that allowed by state code, as a statement and a deterrent, but prosecutors would be unable to bring charges that conflict with state law. Commissioner Larry Schoen said a county ordinance could be applied to poaching incidents.

     Commissioners Jacob Greenberg and Angenie McCleary supported the 1,000-foot limit, though Schoen argued that such a limit would be too restrictive to people in rural parts of the county.

     By a 2-1 margin, the commissioners voted to amend county code to prohibit shooting within 1,000 feet of a dwelling “subject to the limitations expressed in Idaho code.”

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.