Town of St. Joseph considers firearm ordinance changeChapter 190 of the town code has been the subject of discussion for several weeks now and discusses at the town of St. Joseph board meeting, Thursday, June 2. The chapter, which deals with firearm ordinances, has been questioned as to its validity.
By: By Chris Hamble, Hudson Star-Observer
Chapter 190 of the town code has been the subject of discussion for several weeks now and discusses at the town of St. Joseph board meeting, Thursday, June 2. The chapter, which deals with firearm ordinances, has been questioned as to its validity, and with the clear state firearm regulations, if it is even needed within the town code of ordinances.
Town Chair Dan Gavin reported back that after working with the Wisconsin Towns Association, that the ordinance, which was adopted back in 1967, is currently valid. However, should the town choose to, it does have the ability to change the ordinance.
One of the sticking points in the current ordinance is the wording of where one may discharge a firearm. The ordinance reads in part:
“No person or persons shall discharge any firearm of any kind or description within the territorial limits of the unincorporated Villages of Houlton or Burkhardt, Town of St. Joseph, Wisconsin, or within 300 feet of any building located within the territorial limits of the Town of St. Joseph, Wisconsin.”
The issue comes with the word “building,” which many wish to be changed to the word “house,” as the word “building” is too broad of a word and would prevent some from even discharging a firearm legally anywhere on their property.
“I do think that it needs to be re-worded,” said Gavin. However, as this is a town ordinance, the ordinance cannot just be discussed and changed during any regular town board meeting. In order for an ordinance to be changed, or possibly abolished, the town needs to schedule a public hearing on the specified item to get feedback from those in the town on how, or if, to change the ordinance. Only then may it go to the town board for changes.
While some in attendance were dismayed by the length of time that they have spent on this issue, they reacted very favorably to a public hearing. Hearing this, the board has scheduled a public hearing on Chapter 190, to either amend the wording of the ordinance, or abolish it completely and revert to the state statutes. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 7, at 7 p.m., during the regularly scheduled monthly Town Board meeting.
The complete town code, as well as meeting information and agenda’s, can be found at the Town of St. Joseph website at: www.townofstjoseph.com