Editorial: Wildlife panel drops unwise weapons restriction

At its March meeting the commissioners on the Nevada Board of Wildlife wisely tabled a proposed regulation that would have required hunters to obtain permission of the occupant of a dwelling before discharging a weapon within a certain distance.

The board was responding to reported instances of hunters engaging in unsafe practices near residences, but such a rule would have allowed dwelling occupants to create de facto no hunting zones.

The proposal was first prompted by an incident in 2016 in Genoa in which a hunter with an archery deer tag wounded a deer that then wondered into a residential area. The hunter went knocking on doors asking permission to finish off the deer in peoples’ yards, causing some consternation and raising the issue of whether there should be regulations dictating safe hunting distances from dwellings.

The proposed rule would have amended the Nevada Administrative Code to make it unlawful to discharge a firearm within 5,000 feet of any occupied dwelling without the permission of the owner or occupier of the dwelling. That is almost 1 mile. Further, the rule would prohibit firing a shotgun, bow or crossbow within 1,000 feet of such a dwelling without permission.

Under such a rule owners of land could conceivably be barred from hunting on their own property if there were a home within a mile in any direction where someone objects.

Members of the National Rifle Association, bowhunter groups and other Second Amendment backers questioned the need for the statewide law.

While based on good intentions, such restrictions are unnecessary.

There already is a law on the books that makes it illegal for a person to willfully and maliciously discharge a firearm at or into any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, aircraft, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer or house trailer, railroad locomotive, car or tender. If any of those places is occupied, the crime is a felony punishable by imprisonment for a minimum term of not less than one year and a maximum term of not more than six years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.

Further, many cities and counties already have laws on the books dictating where weapons may be discharged.

This proposal, as one person observed, was a solution in search of a problem.

Thankfully, wiser heads prevailed.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Nevada Board of Wildlife meeting.

3 comments on “Editorial: Wildlife panel drops unwise weapons restriction

  1. Rex Steninger says:

    Hello Thomas, Definitely good news, but I also questioned the authority of the wildlife board to impose restrictions like this. Isn’t that the work of the legislature, or the county commissions?



  2. Good point. Not sure how much administrative leeway the law allows.

  3. Steve says:

    New York upstaters would be happy to let a hunter finish off a wounded animal. To many residents, deer are little better than rats these days. Almost as bad as Canadian Geese. (mean f’rs that poop all over every patch of grass everywhere)

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