North Pole council discovers lack of local gun ordinance

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2002

NORTH POLE (AP) -- City council members considering a night noise ordinance scrambled into action last week after discovering there was no local law prohibiting the firing of guns within city limits.

The council is considering a noise ordinance aimed at barking dogs and loud music. The measure would require quiet hours in the city between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekends.

The gun issue came up after a resident complained to Mayor Jeff Jacobson about his neighbors shooting animals within city limits -- which is not now prohibited by ordinance.

''There was nothing on the books,'' the mayor said.

Since guns make loud noises, a provision against discharging firearms was added to the proposed noise ordinance.

But after discussion, council members pulled the firearm segment. The mayor said after the meeting he will reintroduce the amendment as an ordnance.

''We'll have a temporary delay in getting it on the books,'' Jacobson said. ''But it's important that we do regulate the discharge of firearms in the city.''

Councilman Jim Taylor disagreed.

''If it's not broke it doesn't need to be fixed,'' Taylor said. ''I haven't heard of any rash of shootings.''

State law, which governs cases of reckless endangerment due to shooting near people, houses or roadways, covers all that needs to be covered, he said.

''War is waged on people's rights. There's always somebody who wants to stop the rest of the people from doing something.''

Police Chief Lonnie Hatman said he backs an ordinance prohibiting the discharging of firearms in the city. The problem becomes especially apparent around hunting season, he said.

The draft ordinance prohibits shooting firearms within city limits except in defense of person or property.

The noise ordinance is up for a vote Sept. 3.

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