County Board Discussing Gun Discharge Ordinance

The Natural and Environmental Resources Committee met March 17 and discussed, among other things, an ordinance to prohibit the discharge of a firearm.
Gun discharge ord minutes 3-17-14Below is the ordinance in searchable form:

Ordinance Regulating the Discharge of Firearms in Unincorporated McHenry County

Mr Vinton and Mr Mellem joined committee members. Mr Mellem stated that the ordinance was prepared at the request of committee members.

Ms. McCann questioned Section (2) b: which states: Residential Area.  A “residential area” for the purposes of this ordinance is any area within 300 yards of at least 3 single or multi-family residential structures.

Mr. Mellem mentioned that this definition is verbatim from the enabling statute which was passed by legislation and allows the proposed ordinance to follow the law.

Members were informed that they would be able to decrease the numbers in this section of the proposed ordinance, but they could increase the numbers.

He interprets this section as a 300 yard radius from the firing of the weapon.

If there are three residential structures anywhere within the radius then the firing of a weapon would be in violation of the ordinance.

If a person is firing a weapon from their own residential area, their residential structure would count as the first residential structure and there would have to be two additional residential structures near their own residential structure.

Members were informed that a 300 yard radius covers approximately 58 acres.

= = = = =
The law in question has to do with the distance from a home that one can hunt game.  Legislative discussion when the original bill was passed in the 1970’s was limited to rifles.  In 1993, the distance was reduced from the original number of feet to conform with legislation in surrounding states.


Comments

County Board Discussing Gun Discharge Ordinance — 28 Comments

  1. This is none of anybody’s freaking business!

    I am so tired of Nanny State BS!

  2. All five who voted in favor of the gun discharge ordinance ran as Republicans.

    Keep track of how Board members vote on this ordinance to identify those with Republican values and those who have no clue!!

  3. Someone send these characters just passed Georgia HB60 Safe Carry Protection Act (also called “guns everywhere bill”) for laughs.

    Light years difference in Illinois mindset and most of the rest of the country.

    Even Dem. gadfly Jimmy Carter’s, State Sen. grandson, voted for it.

  4. Are they trying to eliminate hunting in McHenry county?

    The DNR all ready has rules for this.

    100 yards from a dwelling.

    We don’t need this ordinance.

  5. “All five who voted in favor of the gun discharge ordinance ran as Republicans.

    Keep track of how Board members vote on this ordinance to identify those with Republican values and those who have no clue!!”

    And which Republican value exactly says we should have the right to recklessly discharge firearms in heavily populated areas?

  6. It has nothing to do with Republicans.

    It’s a God given right to do whatever I choose.

    Why do nitwits and morons always have to bring up really inane arguments like reckless?

    Where does that fit in with anything?

    Go back to your safe hole with your Nanny, Mark.

  7. Crazy, have any of these Board members ever fired a gun?

    What does 300 yards have to do with anything?

    A shotgun may shoot 100 yards, a rifle or handgun 1000 yards.

    What’s the point?

    Whose idea is this?

    We need no more restrictions on firearms.

  8. “Reckless” and “discharging a firearm within 300 feet of three habitable structures are two different things.

    There are many places where there are several homes near one another with hundreds of acres of open land around them.

    Private property should be private.

    Barring harm to other’s person, property or property value one should be able to discharge a firearm safely.

    This is one more overreach by government entities looking for access to private property and homes.

    Potential dangerous scenario: The kids get some fireworks from friends and blow up a few in the yard where three homes are within 300 yards(who measures this?) of one another.

    Police come with a SWAT team and break through the front door hours later with no warning placing the entire family in jeopardy and confiscate every firearm they come across.

    Three years, multiple felony charges and over a hundred thousand dollars of family money later the firearms are returned, the police apologize, the charges are dropped and everything is fine because justice has… You know… Prevailed… Right?

    Is this far fetched?

    This is happening.

    Trust government?

    Not always.

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well.

    There are plenty of laws on the books to avert “Reckless” discharge of a firearm.

    We don’t need more.

  9. Please join me in expressing our opposition to this proposed ordinance at the May 15th Planning & Development Committee Meeting at 8:30am.

    It will be on the agenda for an up or down vote.

    I would also suggest those opposing this ordinance to attend one or both of the next two County Board Meetings May 6th at 9am and May 20th at 7pm.

    All meetings allow public comment and all meetings are held at the County Administration Building 667 Ware Rd. (2nd Floor), Woodstock.

  10. Keep in mind we already have State laws that prohibit the unsafe discharge of a fire arm.

    From what I’ve ascertained the intent of the misguided authors of this ordinance was to address a resident who was running a make shift shooting range in his backyard.

    Of course the County Ordinances are already crystal clear on this too.

    You need a conditional use permit to build a commercial shooting range in the County.

    There’s no reason for another gun law – just enforce the one’s already on the books.

  11. There are many areas where someone shoots firearms and the down range area is affected but they are not approved ranges.

    Neighbors have to tolerate the noise.

    Our neighbor shoots from his patio out into a dirt pile shooting large caliber super hot ammo.

    Makes our window rattle.

    Neighbors complain but until there is damage to someone’s property or an injury the county will do nothing.

    If he was trap shooting, where the shot pellets only go 100 yards then ok, but shooting a 44 mag, military 7.65 and 223 rounds for hours is too much.

    So glad Provenzano got his ass waxed in the election.

  12. Justin? It sounds like you have a very conscientious neighbor who is practicing for when the Gestapo comes to take your waxed ass away.

  13. Nick is right on for this one!

    ” just enforce the one’s already on the books.”

    The same logic that applies to border security and all immigration!

  14. Here is the draft ordinance.

    ORDINANCE REGULATING THE DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS IN UNINCORPORATED MCHENRY COUNTY

    WHEREAS, 55 ILCS 5/5-1117, states, in part, that the county board of any county may, by ordinance, regulate or prohibit within unincorporated areas the discharge of firearms in any residential area where such discharge is likely to subject residents or passersby to the risk of injury; and

    WHEREAS, the McHenry County Board Natural and Environmental Resources Committee has requested that the McHenry County Board Law and Justice Committee consider recommending that the County Board adopt an ordinance
    regulating the discharge of firearms; and

    WHEREAS, the McHenry County Board Law and Justice Committee recommends that the County Board adopt an ordinance regulating the discharge of firearms; and

    WHEREAS, after due deliberation, the County Board of McHenry County finds it to be in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the discharge of firearms within unincorporated areas in any residential area where such discharge is likely to subject residents or passersby to the risk of injury while maintaining the rights of the residents of McHenry County.

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois hereby adopts the following ordinance regulating the discharge of firearms in unincorporated McHenry County:

    (1) Statement of Objectives and Authority:

    a. The objectives of this ordinance are:

    i. To regulate the discharge of firearms in unincorporated McHenry County in order to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of McHenry County ; and,

    ii. To prevent the discharge of firearms in a manner that would endanger others while maintaining the rights of the residents of McHenry County.

    b. This ordinance is authorized by the Counties Code, section 55 ILCS 5/5-1117 (West 2013).

    (2) Definitions:

    a. Firearm. A “firearm” for the purposes of this ordinance is any device, by whatever name known, which is designed to expel a projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosion, expansion of gas or escape of gas; excluding, however:

    i. any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun which expels a single globular projectile not exceeding .18 inch in diameter or which has a maximum muzzle velocity of less than 700 feet per second;

    ii. any pneumatic gun, spring gun, paint ball gun, or B-B gun which expels breakable paint balls containing washable marking colors;

    iii. any device used exclusively for signaling or safety and required or recommended by the United States Coast Guard or the Interstate Commerce Commission; and

    iv. any device used exclusively for the firing of stud cartridges, explosive rivets or similar industrial ammunition.

    b. Residential Area. A “residential area” for the purposes of this ordinance is any area within 300 yards of at least 3 single or multi-family residential structures.

    (3) Regulations:

    a. The discharge of firearms in any residential area where such discharge is likely to subject residents or passersby to the risk of injury is prohibited within all unincorporated areas of McHenry County.

    b. The discharge of a firearm for the lawful defense of persons or property, or in the course of making a lawful arrest, when such use of force is justified by law, or for the purpose of legally hunting in accordance with the Illinois Wildlife Code shall not be prohibited by this ordinance.

    (4) Burden of Proof:

    a. The burden of proof for all affirmative defenses under this ordinance shall be on the defendant. Affirmative defenses include but are not limited to proving an exception to the definition of “firearm” as listed in section (2)(a)(i-iv) of this ordinance, or proving that the discharge of a firearm was lawful under section (3)(b) of this ordinance.

    b. For all other elements of the violation, McHenry County shall have the burden of proof.

    c. The standard for proving all elements of or affirmative defenses to the violation shall be proof by a preponderance of the evidence.

    (4) Enforcement:

    a. Each instance of the discharge of a firearm shall constitute a separate violation of this ordinance.

    b. A violation of this ordinance shall be punishable by a fine of $50 to $1,000. The fine shall be determined by the level to which the conduct of the violator has caused a risk of injury to others.

    c. This ordinance may serve as the basis for injunctive or other equitable relief, and nothing in this ordinance shall serve to limit the relief that may otherwise be attained at law.

    BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, this ordinance shall be effective immediately upon its adoption by the McHenry County Board; and

    BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, that the County Clerk is hereby authorized to distribute a certified copy of this Ordinance to the McHenry County Sheriff, the McHenry County State’s Attorney, and the McHenry County Administrator.

    DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 15th day of April, A.D., 2014.
    TINA R. HILL, Chairwoman McHenry County Board
    ATTEST: KATHERINE C. SCHULTZ, County Clerk
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2383&Inline=True

  15. The proposed ordinance regulating discharge of firearms in McHenry County has been discussed at the County’s Natural & Environmental Resources Public Meetings going back at least to August 2013.

    April 7, 2014

    Law & Justice Agenda
    5. New Business
    11. Ordinance Regulating the Discharge of Firearms in Unincorporated McHenry County
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2383&Inline=True

    March 17, 2014

    Natural & Environmental Resources Agenda
    5. New Business
    2. Ordinance Regulating the Discharge of Firearms in Unincorporated
    McHenry County
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2342&Inline=True

    December 16, 2013 8:30 AM
    Discussion – draft ordinance regulating discharge of firearms
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Motion.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=1938&MinutesID=1992&MediaPosition=&ID=19080&Type=50&CssClass=%20style=

    December 16, 2013 8:30 AM

    Discussion – draft nuisance ordinance
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Motion.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=1938&MinutesID=1992&MediaPosition=&ID=19082&Type=50&CssClass=%20style=

    November 18, 2013 8:30 AM

    Discussion – draft Ordinance Regulating Discharge of Firearms
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Motion.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=1937&MinutesID=1944&MediaPosition=&ID=18348&Type=50&CssClass=%20style=

    October 21, 2013 8:30 AM

    Minutes of the Natural & Environmental Resources Committee
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/citizens/FileView.aspx?Type=12&ID=1896

    August 15, 2013 9:30AM

    Agenda Item 2506
    5.1 Nuisance Ordinance Discussion
    Natural & Environmental Resources Public Meeting
    http://mchenrycountyil.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_LegiFile.aspx?Frame=&MeetingID=2261&MediaPosition=&ID=2506&CssClasse

  16. Simple question: What is the reason for this change?

    Does this ordinance solve the problem?

    Going back to the first question if there is no major issue then why make this ordinance change?

  17. Call or email the people who voted for the ordinance to be approved.

  18. Once again idiots make laws concerning things of which they have little or no actual knowledge and prove this by giving little thought to unintended consequences of their actions.

    Case in point. I own a farm out in the country, let’s say that I have 500 acres and there is one house on the property and close to the pit in which I like to shoot.

    Since my closest neighbor is 1/2 mile away, I’m not in violation.

    Same farm but now I have a tenant house adjacent to the main house and a mobile home for seasonal help.

    All of which are within 300 yards of my target range.

    According to this ordinance, nothing is said about occupied residences (owned by me) or occupied residences (owned by me) and said occupants giving me their permission to shoot safely on my property, with their permission.

    Anyone think there might be a problem?

    Seems to me that absent a concurrent violation of state or federal law (i.e. illegal hunting, possession of either an unlawful weapon or possession by a felon, etc.)this ordinance would be unconstitutional on its face.

    As I said before, IDIOTS!

    Maybe we can test it and get some of our tax money back from these thieves when we sue for a violation of our constitutional rights.

  19. If and when this trash ordinance is passed I will be pleased to write the first $1000.00 check to hire council to overturn it in the courts.

    Many of us have moved to McHenry County to enjoy exactly the same freedoms which our elected officials now seek to remove from us.

    We already have laws against reckless endangerment and disturbing the peace.

    This is just another reason to hoist high the ‘Gadsden Flag’.

  20. This latest effort to interfere looks like the County Board’s attempt to distract us from the lousy job they’re doing in managing, or mismanaging, matters in the Courthouse.

    Get your own house in order, County Board members, before you jump into this one.

  21. You need good people to run for office.

    Not just for county board but school board.

    So many people do not like the direction of the board but refuses to run.

  22. You get what you vote for.

    I feel for those of you staying in IL…glad I moved to ALABAMA!

    I agree with the comment that if you don’t like the current crop of knuckleheads at County, Schoolboard, etc.

    Run for office to replace them!

  23. And many more of us have left this once great county because of over taxation and out of towners getting into the local government and ruining it.

    GOD BLESS ARIZONA!!!

  24. I am a FOID carrying gun owner and I live in an area of Unincorporated McHenry County that is densely populated.

    There are 2 residents here that shoot for up to 8 hours a day on Saturday AND Sunday, the one has 3-5 people over and shoot at steel plate, which I can attest is quite loud.

    We are pretty sure he is running a commercial gun and ammo business at the expense of his entire neighborhood.

    It galls me to know he is making money while at the same time ruining the neighborhood with his noise.

    I can assure you that it gets old REALLY fast.

    I could probably shoot on my land, however, i DONT because I have a lot of neighbors and don’t want to be “That guy” who is destroying the peace.

    The problem here is this – there are people who CHOOSE jerks because they can and there are people who choose not to be a jerk.

    I am someone who chooses NOT to be a jerk.

    Because these jerks cannot utilize common sense, laws need to be created to preserve the quality of life of those that have the unfortunate bad luck to live around them.

    By all means buy land AWAY from the populace and shoot to your hearts content.

    That is all this Ordinance is saying.

    Even Libertarian Law states that participating in an activity is fine UNLESS you coerce or directly affect someone else.

    Hate to say it guys, but noise pollution is coercive.

    Exactly why they use loud music as part of torture methods in places like Guantanamo Bay.

  25. Ed?

    You already HAVE noise ordinances.

    You don’t need gun ordinances on TOP OF THAT!

  26. Cindy – McHenry County does NOT have a noise ordinance.. therein lays the problem.

    Call the county and ask.

    But rest assured, there will be a noise ord. or a firearm ord. like the one captioned above – soon.

    It is needed.

    The ord. above only affects densely populated areas.

    Also I’d like to mention – there is a glaring typo in it as well.

    The acreage of buffer is not 58 acres, it is 5.8 acres.

    This is common sense that people are entitled to quality of life.

  27. First let me state that I was on both a college and National Guard rifle team and an Air Force small arms instructor.

    I have built a range my 37 acres that is morè than 200 yds from any structure and has a 30 high berm.

    Today I found my next door neighbor shooting a .22 in his yard with his two kids within 100 yards of 5 homes including mine!

    He knew nothing of any ordanences and none of wore eye protection.

    It is amateurs like these that are the problem

  28. Today I encountered another neighbor firing an M1911 modified for.22 in the direction of a public road AND my house both at about 200 yds! I offered to show him a safe range nearby but he opted to quit shooting instead. This was the second time this person had to be warned not to shoot toward my house. I intend to call the sheriff next time.

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