Mat-Su Borough Planning Commission hears public comment regarding controversial shooting range ordinance

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Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Mat-Su Borough Planning Commission listened to public comment on Monday regarding a contentious ordinance that establishes permitting of outdoor shooting ranges. The ordinance would not affect existing shooting ranges unless they were expanded.

“Ultimately the three things we end up regulating are three things stray bullets, led contamination, and harmful levels of noise,” Alex Strawn, Mat-Su Borough Development Services Manager, shared during the meeting Monday.

The ordinance would set standards for distance from buildings, backstops, noise levels, length of a firing range, and hours of operation.

“This is a land-use issue, not a second amendment issue,” Jerry Hupp said while sharing his support of the ordinance over the phone.

The Borough’s website says the mandate would not “abridge” the right to bear arms guaranteed by the constitution of the state of Alaska.

“The Mat-Su Borough has a double standard because you have a dog mushing ordinance which excludes dog teams from noise. But you want to implement noise regulation on shooting ranges,” Ester Huddleston said in opposition to the ordinance.

Others in opposition said it would limit opportunities for young shooters in the Mat-Su to pursue college scholarships and compete in the Olympics. The planning commission has until Oct. 6 to present the Borough Assembly with a resolution for the ordinance.

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