Orange County NC Website
1 <br /> ORANGE COUNTY <br /> BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: September 10, 2020 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 1 <br /> SUBJECT: Additional Discussion on Potential Regulation of the Discharge of Firearms in <br /> Areas of the County with High Residential Unit Density <br /> DEPARTMENT: County Attorney <br /> ATTACHMENT(S): INFORMATION CONTACT: <br /> A) Maps (1-7) Showing Housing John Roberts, 919-245-2318 <br /> Density <br /> B) State Laws Limiting Local <br /> Government Firearms Regulation <br /> C) Prior Durham County Ordinance <br /> D) Current Durham County Ordinance <br /> E) Current Orange County Ordinance <br /> PURPOSE: To discuss options related to the regulation of firearms discharge in limited <br /> urbanized areas of the County. <br /> BACKGROUND: This topic was briefly discussed by the 2016 Firearms Safety Committee at its <br /> meetings, but did not result in any substantive recommendations to the Board of Commissioners <br /> in that Committee's final recommendation. The proposed recommendations from the <br /> Committee included a recommendation that the Code of Ordinances be amended to prohibit the <br /> discharge of firearms while an individual is impaired, required discharged projectiles remain on <br /> the property on which they are discharged, and individuals discharging firearms maintain <br /> adequate backstops. These recommendations were adopted as shown in Attachment E. <br /> The Board of Commissioners revisited this issue in September 2019 and directed the County <br /> Attorney to bring back additional information at a 2020 work session including a map showing <br /> more roads, a map showing subdivisions, the current Orange County ordinance, maps of the <br /> extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) areas including subdivisions, and Geographic Information <br /> System enlarged maps of larger subdivisions. North Carolina General Statute 153A-129 <br /> specifically authorizes counties to regulate the discharge of firearms (Attachment B). Other <br /> statutes limit the extent to which counties may regulate firearms in general and the discharge of <br /> firearms, particularly with respect to the discharge of firearms on "sport shooting ranges." <br /> Ordinances of this type are generally prospective only. In response to a question from <br /> Commissioner Jamezetta Bedford about retroactive applicability at the September 2019 work <br /> session, the County Attorney indicated that an ordinance adopted to promote gun safety in <br /> urbanized areas could retroactively apply to shooting ranges. This response was overly broad <br /> and did not specify the strict limitations of retroactive enforcement. Retroactive enforcement <br />