UTICA, NY — Utica City Councilwoman Celeste Friend intends to propose a nuisance ordinance that would regulate indoor shooting ranges in the city of Utica. Outdoor ranges are already banned in the city, and this legislation would require indoor ranges to be licensed.
Additionally, the planning committee would need a 3/4 majority to approve a special building permit.
The city would charge a license fee of $500 per year, and the range would require $1,000,000 liability insurance for personal injury and property damage.
No new shooting range may be closer than 1,000 feet from an entrance to a school, church, hospital, youth recreation facility, or any other location that the Police Commissioner determines would cause nuisance to a nearby resident.
A number of safety protocols are set out in the proposed legislation. A new shooting range would be required to install a professionally designed and commercially manufactured backstop and/or backstop in all shooting areas.
WKTV spoke to Celeste Friend over the phone. She says she’s not against shooting ranges. She believes every law-abiding gun owner should know how to safely fire their firearm, but she believes shooting ranges need to be in the right places and are not allowed in residential areas or near commercial properties.
When asked why this legislation is being proposed now, she said, “The city can’t be in a position where we have to let one in and then try to legislate.”
We have reached out to the mayor, the police chief, a local gun shop owner and two local gun ranges for comment, but were unable to arrange an interview with them at this time.
The proposed law is an ordinance requiring nine votes to pass.
Councilperson Friend expects the legislation will be presented at Wednesday’s joint council meeting and will be brought up again at the following meeting on March 16.