Sunday, November 16, 2008

Local Use of Pellet Traps

On Thursday I purchased a hand-pump pellet pistol, the Crosman 1377. I wanted to introduce some friends to plinking and it was less expensive to buy this and some lead-free pellets that to buy more hearing protection so everyone could shoot a real handgun.

The city of Springfield has phrases in its Municipal Code (section 5.118) that allows using a pellet trap if done safely. Since my friends live in Springfield, I called that police department and asked how my friends could set up a pellet trap in their back yard that was a "shooting area which has been approved by the city". The police simply had me describe the area and equipment (including my homemade pellet trap), then granted permission.

In contrast, Eugene City Code has no such allowances: according to section 4.885 all projectiles are illegal unless on an "established range", which is never defined (also see 4.889g and 4.895).

The Eugene police department tried to be helpful. They referred me to the City Land Use division and the City Recorder while also voluntarily sharing that police are never dispatched to resolve a land use issue unless there is a complaint that safety or peace are disturbed. City Land Use could not cite any law or court case, nor did they know of any "established range" within city limits, but they were very sure that land zoned as residential could never contain a "established range". The City Recorder, Mary Feldman, tried to be helpful but all she could add was how to either contact my local City Counselor, Betty Taylor, or start a petition to propose altering the City Code.

I would like to observe the letter of the law, not just its spirit, as instructed by Romans 13:1-7. Since I'm still not sure if using my homemade pellet trap in my garage is legal, I suppose I'll be visiting my friends in Springfield to do my plinking.

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