Eagle wants residents to be able to shoot on their property. What the council decided

·2 min read

You can now discharge a firearm on 20 acres or more within Eagle city limits.

The Eagle City Council passed an amendment to city law to allow shooting in city limits on 20-acre or larger parcels as long as does not endanger people or property.

Eagle Mayor Jason Pierce said he feels for farmers and other people who have had their 20-plus acre property annexed into the city who have not been able to hunt or shoot on it.

The ordinance also mentions the Bureau of Land Management land that was annexed into the city of Eagle. In recent years the area has proved problematic for some area residents when it comes to shooting. The Bureau of Land Management allows shooting on its federal lands, but because the area was annexed into Eagle, shooting was illegal.

That will change with this amendment.

The three council members and Pierce supported the ordinance during a City Council meeting Tuesday night. Councilman Charlie Baun opposed it. He worried about the 20-acre minimum and having no limits on what gun people can shoot with.

“I think we run into major safety issues,” Baun said. “If we do 20 acres ... then we get into individuals going, ‘I think I can shoot a rifle safely.’ My biggest concern is individuals and what is deemed safe and what isn’t.”

For example, Baun said, a bullet from a high-powered rifle can travel two and a half or three miles.

“Now, if you shoot, the police will be there,” Baun said. “With this we have, ‘well was it over 20 acres?’ What happens if someone shoots a rifle within city limits because they thought it was safe and it wasn’t?”

Baun asked if the council could limit shooting to just shotguns, whose pellets don’t travel as far. Baun said a shotgun can be shot safely at 300 yards.

Councilors Kenny Pittman, Brad Pike and Melissa Gindlesperger said they did not feel comfortable restricting what people can shoot in the city.

“It seems like a slippery slope to get into what you can and cannot shoot with,” Gindlesperger said.

Pierce defended gun owners, saying “most... are really responsible in what they do.” He said he would like the city to host an awareness campaign about gun safety.

“You have to do it safely, and if you hurt someone, you are responsible for it,” Pierce said.

The council passed the ordinance amendment in a 3-1 vote, with Baun the sole dissenting vote.

The city must publish a legal notice about the amendment in the Idaho Statesman before it takes effect. Ellen Mattila, Eagle spokesperson, said the city expects the notice to run next week, and the amendment will take effect after that.

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