Gun ordinance to affect new clubs

A proposed ordinance amending codes for shooting ranges in Kitsap County would levy restrictions on all new gun clubs in the area.

The ordinance, drafted by Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development, regulates the days and hours shooting ranges can operate, mandates shooting range design and prohibits the use of automatic weapons. The ordinance would also restrict the discharge of firearms in any portion of the county where, the ordinance reads, “there is a reasonable likelihood that humans, domestic animals, or property will be jeopardized.” The DCD Director has the ability to revoke a range permit when a shooting range has violated conditions.

According to the ordinance, any new operating permit that is handed out “is not intended to alter the legal nonconforming use status and rights of existing ranges.” Officials said that the new ordinance was drafted in an attempt to protect participants, spectators, neighbors and the public.

A special review committee composed of three citizens from Kitsap County’s planning commission, Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development Director Larry Keeton and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Gary Simpson, will look at the ordinance before it is adopted.

Lary Coppola, a former Port Orchard Mayor running for Kitsap County Commissioner Dist. 2, said he has not looked through the ordinance carefully, but knows the three citizens appointed from the Kitsap County Planning Commission to be some of the more “liberal” citizens on the commission, and believes them to be most likely to restrict shooting clubs.

In a recent Kitsap County Commissioner election debate held at the Norm Dicks Center, Coppola said he would move to eliminate “vendetta prosecution,” levied by the prosecutor’s office. Coppola told the Port Orchard Independent that Kitsap County continuing to prosecute the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club, and the club’s executive officer Marcus Carter, was an example of the wasteful vendetta prosecution. Carter had previously won in cases against the prosecutor’s office, Coppola said, referring to a 1999 case involving an illegally modified firearm allegedly owned by Carter, yet they continue to pursue him and the club.

“They are coming after this guy on land use because they can’t win on the constitutional part,” Coppola said. “That seems like a vendetta to me.”

Current Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said she was unable to comment on the county’s ongoing litigation.


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