Res­i­dents raise con­cerns about firearm use in Bay Roberts

Ask­ing for town to place sig­nage to re­mind hun­ters of reg­u­la­tions

The Compass - - Editorial - BY CHRIS LEWIS [email protected]­n­com­pass.ca

A res­i­dent of Bay Roberts has asked the town coun­cil there to help ed­u­cate hun­ters on where firearm use is not per­mit­ted.

A let­ter from the res­i­dent, who pre­ferred to re­main anony­mous, noted res­i­dents in the Bear Cove Road area of town heard gun­shots near their homes.

Ac­cord­ing to the res­i­dent, there were at least two oc­ca­sions in re­cent weeks when firearms had been dis­charged near the res­i­den­tial area.

The res­i­dent told The Com­pass shots were also heard near the sports field on Play­ground Road, which would ap­pear to be in con­tra­ven­tion of the prov­ince’s laws which stated it is il­le­gal “to dis­charge a firearm within 1,000 me­tres of a school, play­ground or ath­letic field, or within 300 me­tres of a dwelling.”

He wants the town to erect sig­nage to re­mind hun­ters of these reg­u­la­tions, not­ing as a hunter him­self he was not aware of the rule about the 1,000 me­tre zone.

He says, based on this rule, there’s nowhere on the Bear Cove Road side of town where it is le­gal to dis­charge a firearm.

“That whole side . . . even if you’re out­side the 1,000-me­tre zone near the sports field, you’re still within 300-me­tres of a dwelling,” he stated. “I don’t think these guys are down there hunt­ing and de­lib­er­ately do­ing any­thing il­le­gal, it’s just that they don’t know the dif­fer­ence, which is why sig­nage is so im­por­tant for that area.”

The sub­ject prompted dis­cus­sion at the Nov. 13 coun­cil meet­ing.

Deputy Mayor Wal­ter Yet­man said he had spo­ken to the res­i­dent prior to the meet­ing, and while it ap­peared the shoot­ing ac­tiv­ity had eased, the res­i­dent still felt it was im­por­tant to have sig­nage in place.

“He also brought up – and this is some­thing I agree with – that we should take into ac­count the Mad Rock area, and our trails, to see if we can put some sig­nage up around there, too, in or­der to pro­tect hik­ers and any­one else us­ing the trails,” Yet­man added.

Mayor Phillip Wood ques­tioned whether it should be the task of provin­cial en­force­ment of­fi­cers, rather than town of­fi­cials, to po­lice and en­force provin­cial hunt­ing reg­u­la­tions within the town.

“You’ve prob­a­bly no­ticed that wildlife of­fi­cers or fish­eries of­fi­cers are now all armed, be­cause some of the peo­ple they deal with are armed with ri­fles, be­cause they’re out hunt­ing. Our en­force­ment peo­ple, of course, are not armed,” he said. “I think that’s a part of the dis­cus­sion here.

“If we can do it, I’m all for it, but I think we have to make sure that this is some­thing we can en­force.”

As for the 1,000 me­tre reg­u­la­tion, Yet­man agreed that would ap­ply to most ar­eas of town, there­fore pro­hibit­ing firearm use any­where near Bay Roberts.

“With the num­ber of schools, and re­cre­ation ar­eas, the 1,000-me­tre rule takes into ac­count a lot of the area right now,” added Yet­man, who noted the Shearstown es­tu­ary is among the lo­ca­tions in the com­mu­nity that is pro­tected by these reg­u­la­tions.

Yet­man noted the end of Mad Rock trail is the only area in ques­tion re­gard­ing these reg­u­la­tions, as it falls out­side the 1,000-me­tre zone.

Coun­cil­lors ul­ti­mately voted to have the mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer ex­am­ine the con­cerns raised by the res­i­dent, gather in­for­ma­tion and re­port back to coun­cil.

It is un­law­ful:

• un­less you have a per­mit, to carry, trans­port or pos­sess firearms or am­mu­ni­tion dur­ing a closed sea­son in any area fre­quented by wildlife. A per­son trav­el­ling to a hunt­ing area may, if he/she holds the proper game li­cence, trans­port a firearm or am­mu­ni­tion if the firearm is cased or se­curely wrapped and tied.

• un­less you have a valid game li­cence and/or per­mit, to carry, trans­port or pos­sess firearms or am­mu­ni­tion dur­ing an open sea­son for shoot­ing in any area fre­quented by wildlife.

• to carry, trans­port or pos­sess, in any area fre­quented by wildlife, any pump or au­toload­ing shot­gun un­less it is plugged or al­tered so that it can­not carry any more than a to­tal of three shells in the mag­a­zine and cham­ber com­bined.

• to hunt with any fully au­to­matic ri­fle. Semi-au­to­matic or au­toload­ing ri­fles may be used.

• un­less you have a per­mit, to pos­sess in any camp, tent or sum­mer cot­tage, any firearm dur­ing closed sea­son.

• to carry, trans­port or pos­sess a loaded firearm in or on, or dis­charge a firearm from, any air­craft, mo­tor ve­hi­cle, snow ma­chine, or all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle. A firearm is con­sid­ered to be loaded if there is a live shell or car­tridge in the cham­ber or mag­a­zine, and the mag­a­zine is at­tached to the firearm in its usual po­si­tion.

• to dis­charge a firearm from or across any rail­way bed, high­way, pub­lic or pri­vate road. to use or pos­sess, in any area fre­quented by wildlife, any am­mu­ni­tion that has been cut, ringed or al­tered in any way.

• for a li­censed hunter to carry or pos­sess more than one firearm un­less each ex­tra firearm is cased or se­curely wrapped and tied.

• to dis­charge a firearm within 1,000 me­tres of a school, play­ground or ath­letic field, or within 300 me­tres of a dwelling.

• to dis­charge a firearm or hunt on most com­mu­nity pas­tures dur­ing the pe­riod May 1 to Nov. 30 in­clu­sive. Check with near­est De­part­ment of Jus­tice- Fish and Wildlife En­force­ment or Wildlife Di­vi­sion of­fice.

• to dis­charge or han­dle a firearm while hunt­ing with­out ex­er­cis­ing rea­son­able care for the safety of other per­sons.

Source: De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources www.flr.gov.nl.ca/wildlife/hunt­ing/ hun­ters.html

CHRIS LEWI S — THE COM­PASS

A res­i­dent of Bears Cove Road re­cently ex­pressed con­cern to the town coun­cil in Bay Roberts re­gard­ing the dis­charg­ing of firearms near their home, which falls within 1,000-me­tres of a sports field.

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