Council Pursues Restriction on Discharge of Firearms Within City Limits

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council has advanced an ordinance that could, if passed, restrict the discharge of firearms and other so-called “dangerous weapons” within city limits. At the council’s regular meeting last week, City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski explained the ban would apply in most cases except for when the weapons are used in defense of life and property.

Kniaziowski said hunters have been using guns and bows & arrows to kill deer on Near Island. The ordinance emerges from what she says is a need to protect people in areas frequented by other people and deer.

“It comes up, and we look, and we go no it’s really technically not against the law, so our concern, my concern, the KPD’s concern has been for all the hikers and all the people that use the park on Near Island, the kids that practice cross country, all the things that can happen there. We were concerned, so we consulted with our attorneys and they said it would be better to do it city-wide.”

Kniaziowski said there’s been discussion about people hunting deer on Pillar Mountain.

“The kids run up Pillar, people walk up, they hike up Pillar, the city limits do go up. It’s relatively limited there, but the minute you get to the crest of Pillar, you’re in the watershed, and there’s never hunting. That’s a federal requirement that you can’t hunt in a watershed.”

While the meeting packet does note that in August 2015 a hunter shot a deer on Near Island – which was legal – it does not include any record of humans being shot. Nor did anyone at the regular meeting mention an incident.

The ordinance draft defines the restricted “dangerous weapons” as “including blow guns, BB guns, pellet guns, paintball guns, bows, compound bows” and “crossbows,” and Assemblyman Charlie Davidson asked why the city did not include traps in the language.

Kodiak Police Chief Ronda Wallace explained the decision.

“We went back through our complaints and looked at things over the years, and what we couldn’t find were any complaints of domesticated animals having been trapped, so that would help answer the question as to why we didn’t include the trapping in the dangerous weapons that you see there in the ordinance because we didn’t find anything that involved domesticated animals in that sense.”

The council decided it would send the ordinance to second reading and public hearing before specifying the discussion any further to hunting and trapping. The city council’s next work session is scheduled for October 11 and its next regular meeting for October 13.

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