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Wisconsin’s SB527 range protection legislation passed the legislature by wide margins; 19 – 13 in the senate and 65-35 in the house and was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday. The law builds on current law which exempts sport shooting ranges from zoning ordinances related to noise and grandfathers in ranges that legally existed prior to July 16th, 2013. The bill also extends immunity from lawsuit to the owners and operators of the shooting ranges . . .

To counter strategies that have been used to attack and sometime close ranges in other states, the new bill exempts ranges from state or local zoning conditions or rules related to noise or to nonconforming use, including zoning laws related to shorelands or navigable waters, and immunity from civil liability related to the use or accumulation of projectiles on the range or other real property of the owner that is contiguous to the range.

Here is an example of one of the protections in the bill:

An owner, operator, officer, or board member of a sport shooting range, and any employee or volunteer acting on behalf of the owner or operator who provided recommendations regarding the operation of a sport shooting range, are immune from any civil action based solely on the negligent action of a user of the sport shooting range.

It’s clear that Wisconsin is learning the lessons of other states, where local governments have successfully shut down long-established ranges. For example, the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club in Washington State (est. 1926) has been under attack for years by local opponents who claim that property values will increase if the club is shut down. The Kitsap struggle continues to this day. The latest tactic is to claim that the club needed zoning permission to do maintenance on a long established driveway.

There are current controversies with ranges in Wisconsin that may be affected by the new law’s enactment. The Hartland Sportsmen’s Club is currently suing the city of Delafield to continue operating.

Allegations that shooting range lands are sought by developers who use zoning power to obtain it run rampant in many of these situations. A coalition of anti-gunners who want to stop shooting anywhere, anytime they can, and those who see a possibility for significant financial gain is often perceived.

Shooting ranges have been closed all over the country, making the ability to target practice or to meet legal requirements for carry permits difficult in many locations. No ranges currently exist in Chicago, and only one indoor range is available to the public in New York City.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

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  1. They’ll go for them any way they can. If they can’t ban guns outright they’ll make it so much of a hassle that they aren’t worth the bother to the majority. Then, when only a minority have firearms, it’ll be easy to push their agenda.

    • I don’t think the Dems get how much the gun control push is pissing off a large segment of their union base.

      • Why would they care? Much of the union dues go to campaign funds. That is all they care about. Unless most of union base is in a district, they do not care. Pissed off union members who are also gun owners is still a minority and even if passed off they get no say to what politician gets the union campaign contribution.

        • They still get to vote or not vote. As close as the last several national elections have been, that matters.

      • Most of the union membership in the Midwest vote Republican……

        I’ve openly stated if the unions would simply change party affiliation they would become the largest voting block in the Republican Party. The leadership is pure Communistic so that will never happen.

  2. Good Lord. As a native cheesehead, I was compelled to leave that “progressive paradise”. But that was over 20 years ago.

    I might just have to move back, now.

    • How was it a “progressive paradise” 20 yrs ago when Tommy Thompson was in office…??? Gov Tommy Thompson was NOT a progressive by any means, perhaps you just don’t understand what conservatism is all about…

      • Because WI is still a pretty “blue” state; politically, and Madison still had/has a stranglehold on everything. And this is coming from an older guy, with an interest in politics, who’s lived in other blue states before.
        WI has gone to the Democrats in every presidential election since 1988. Yes, WI went to Mike Dukakis.
        WI has had non-traditional “holiday trees and decorations” since the 80s. They even debated in the state senate in 2007 to legally name it a Holiday Tree. That’s California levels of Leftistism.
        Hell even as late as 2010 Doyle was still trying to push through driver’s licensing and Badgercare for known illegal immigrants, despite widespread public opposition.

        Even now that Doyle’s gone, Walker and the Republican Party in the state have spent a good majority of their time trying to fend off recalls; and when that didn’t work, a barrage of lawsuits; most notably a voter ID law which is aimed at keeping WI’s sizable illegal immigrant population from voting. Also, ordering billboards around Madison which say “voter fraud is a crime” be taken down because that’s “voter intimidation”. It even made the national news in 2011 that Illinois residents were arrested for voter fraud because they were bragging about voting against Walker on Facebook.

        • You need to look at the map of WI voters, the only thing “blue” about WI is Milwaukee and Madison, otherwise the rest of the state is conservative…UNFORTUNATLEY, Milwaukee and Madison will ALWAYS carry the state due to their populations…WI is clearly a Republican and conservative state…

          And just in case you hadn’t noticed, Walker defeated Barrett in the recall election very handily…

        • WI Patriot, I meant no offense.
          Walker did win the recall, which I am thrilled with, and I think by a wider margin than he won the first time, which I was also thrilled with. But the state also decided to elect that bozo Tammy Baldwin at the same time.
          Over the past five decades, only two Republicans, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, have won Wisconsin. Going back to Baldwin, that senate seat has been occupied by a Democrat since 1947.
          The other seat, currently held by Ron Johnson(R), has been more competitive, but was held by a Democrat from 1963 to 1981, a Republican from ’81 – ’93, then Democrat again from 1993 – 2011.

          You’d be surprised how blue some chunks of the state are. The SW half of the state is pretty blue. I think Barrett carried Menominee county with 70-something percent of the vote (higher than Dane county even.) Another example, Racine (city) is a shell of its former self, entire blocks of storefronts boarded up on some streets, but still has enough pull that the county still goes blue. The UP border counties like Ashland, Bayfield, and Douglas like to go blue as well.

          Things are going the right direction in my opinion, in WI. I was just pointing out for others, in my experience, WI is generally left of other states in the Midwest.

    • Walker was able to usher a clean, concise, and efficient CCW system, he ushered in the crossbow for the entire bow season, and now these latest moves. He is quite a friend!

  3. We’re looking at land in Wisconsin. We could use more governors and politicians like Scott Walker. Oh, and did I mention that he balanced the WI budget and now they’re running a surplus? After those “shenanigans,” the state democrats and teamsters tried to recall him. Since voter ID was enacted, and those democrat / teamster scumbags could only vote once, the effort failed. If we ran like Wisconsin at a federal level, we’d be much better off as a nation. Unfortunately, we have an incompetent president.

      • “With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s tax proposal will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

        Though the state’s tax revenue is increasing, GOP lawmakers and Walker are trimming state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increasing it…”

        -Patrick Marley and Jacob Stein, “Scott Walker signs tax cut legislation,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 24, 2014

    • My family has land in WI and like most states WI is very nice. Its just around Milwaukee and Racine and any area with a lot of “Chicago Carpet Baggers” as I call them that it sucks.
      Sadly where my families land is the carpet baggers call the cops every time I shoot. Sometimes they come and “talk” to me, sometimes they don’t. Be very careful where you buy land because in 10 years that farm across the way might be a condo development.

    • Unfortunately, we have an incompetent president.

      With few exceptions, that statement could have been made with complete accuracy at any time from the mid-19th through the 21st centuries.

    • Unfortunately, shortly after the voter ID law was enacted, a liberal judge blocked enforcement, and the law has been in legal limbo ever since.

  4. I live in Wi. And I love it.. could never imagine moving out! We have pretty common sense gun laws and plus the Green Bay Packers!

    • Haha. Yep.
      My old boss just brought me a nice assortment of cheese from Barneveld.

      The more I hear about Scott Walker, the more I like.

  5. Is it just me, or is it truly that Republican governors by and large are pro-Second Amendment and Democrat governors love limiting the Second Amendment wherever and whenever they can?

    • Patriot, I can tell you are not from around here. You seem to have the situation well in hand.

      • Thank you sir. I’m just an old vet and semi-retired physician. I live where fresh water meets salt water and the shrimp and fishing is the best in the world. The frogs of the swamp greet me on one side and the slow trickling of the bayou waters passing by on the other. My bride of over 50 years is still my sweetheart and still has her trademark red hair. She reminds me often that she can change my white hair to any color I would like and I respond that I earned every white hair I have. My wife still teaches school because she loves the kids and I grade her test papers and I love giving smiley faces for A’s, and when I miss one the kids ask for one…ha! I’m a strong LSU alum and fan and looking forward to the game with Wisconsin at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX on August 30th. God willing, I will be there.

  6. Moving next to a range is your own fault, not the fault of the range. I always get a little irritated at some idiot in a news story complaining about the sound of gunshots at a local range. How about do some research before you buy? Then don’t complain when you buy a house and hear gunshots all day. It’s an easy problem for people to solve themselves. Of course they feel like they have to sue to screw other people to make themselves happy.

    • Repeal the NFA, and have suppressors available for all responsible citizens. Bang! Noise problem solved. On an unrelated note, I just ordered a 300 AAC upper.

      • You are going to dig the round.
        Extremely versatile. 110-220 grain projo’s.
        Great 0-500 yard gun.

  7. My buddy’s parents have a house on a lake near Boulder Junction. I love going to the free public ranges there, the people there were always so friendly and a lot of times nobody was there.

  8. Once again, Gov. Walker and WI lead the nation in the fight against the anti-gun coalition…

  9. Walker has done a tremendous job in WI, wiping out Democrat-caused debt, fighting and winning against the teachers’ union, getting concealed carry passed, and now this?

    How about we elect a person for a change who actually has ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING.

    • I’m behind the lines in Illinois…..right behind California…but without the pay structure….


      Where is Obamer from?

  10. Scott Walker for president? I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. Doesn’t Indiana have a surplus too? Wish I could move to Wisconsin or Indiana. Illinois is possibly the worst run state in America. Unlike the feds these a##!!& #s can’t print money. At least we got concealed carry.

  11. Yeah, I’m starting to dig this Walker guy.
    We’ve got a republican gov out here, but….well, he’s kinda a wuss. Especially where being outwardly pro-2a is concerned.

  12. I love being a cheesehead. WI is great – today we celebrated my dad’s birthday by burning through some 9mm, .380, 7.62×39, .223, .45, .357, and 38 special. Oh yeah… some .22 LR and short. It was a fantastic day.

    EDIT: and some .243.

  13. Here in MissouRAH we need this same bill passed. Our gun club in Arnold has been where it is for many years and all the folks moving into the developments springing up around us have to sign waivers/acknowledgements that they realize they can, and will, hear gunfire every single day of the year from 8:30 a.m. to sundown, but that doesn’t stop some of them trying to file complaints, and even false accusations against the club, which is tucked down into a nice valley, about stray rounds, shooting water towers and who knows what else. And this is in rural Jefferson County, mind you, so ….

    Wish we had a Gov like Walker, instead we just have a Democrat.

  14. I served on the local zoning board for fifteen years and dealt with the inherent problem of a housing development encroaching on a long-established gun range. Thankfully, justice has prevailed in this instance, so far. There are still some neighbors doing all they can to irritate the private club that owns the range, along with the local government and law enforcement personnel.

    What concerns me more than zoning laws is the possibility of the EPA causing problems over lead in the ground. You don’t need to look too far to find an “environmental issue” being used as an excuse to encroach on property rights.

  15. EPA needs to be abolished and rebuilt from the ground up. It was a huge power grab by the federal government and goes far, far beyond any constitutional limits.

    Ever hear of the “glancing goose” test? The theory says that if a migrating goose can glance down toward the ground and see a pond sometime, then that can affect the goose’s migration, and is therefore involved in interstate commerce and can be regulated by the EPA.

    It has been a successive series of “progressive” courts over the last hundred years that have allowed such concepts into law, as well as Congress. But I contend that driving them both is the old media.

  16. Wow! I wish we had this in Illinois. I live in Chicago on the north lakefront. There are no shooting ranges here and the laws make it nearly impossible to build one. It wasn’t until last year that ammunition could legally be sold. There is only one range within reach of public transit from the city. I sometimes feel as if I don’t live in the United States.

  17. Cool. I’m going to be in WA soon; Kitsap just made my short list of ranges to check out in the Tacoma vicinity. Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂

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