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Metro area cities must allow the public to use their publicly funded gun ranges for safety training.
(Published Jul 25, 2012)
A small provision in the bulky omnibus game and fish bill may cause headaches for some metro area cities. Chapter 277 (HF 2171) requires shooting ranges in the seven-county metro area that are owned or operated by a public entity to allow public access four times per year, twice in spring, twice in fall, for Department of Natural Resources firearm safety training.
The law provides two exceptions: Minneapolis and St. Paul are exempt, as are facilities that are on the same premises as a correctional or detention facility that holds or incarcerates offenders.
The range operator may charge a fee to cover any costs directly incurred from use required under this section, but may not charge a fee to offset costs for general maintenance and operation of the facility.
Initially, the bill applied to all publicly funded ranges, even those in corrections facilities.
Police chiefs and the League oppose the shooting range mandate, but made clear the objection is not to firearm safety training. Simply stated, many facilities were not built with the intent to make them open to the public. Many that are conducive to public use are already offering it.
If you have a facility that is used primarily for police practice and training, this bill may pose a problem for you. Make sure you consult with your city attorney if your city owns or operates a range that is presently closed to the public.
While the new law was passed without an effective date, it is a policy provision. The default effective date for policy provisions is Aug. 1, 2012.
Contact Anne Finn
Assistant IGR Director
(651) 281-1263 or (800) 925-1122
Contact Rob Boe
Public Safety Project Coordinator
(651) 281-1238 or (800) 925-1122
Each edition of the Focus on New Laws column highlights a law passed in the 2012 legislative session that cities need to know about. Please be sure to always consult your city attorney with technical questions about compliance with laws. For more information about new laws, check out the League’s 2012 Law Summaries (pdf).