by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Rogers City Council agreed to amend the city’s hunting and shooting ordinance to allow for use on private rural land.
Previously in Rogers, the discharge of a firearm was not permitted except in an approved firing range. But the annexation of Hassan Township brought with it many rural properties whose owners had previously enjoyed the freedom to hunt or target shoot on their property.
City Planner Steve Grittman explained the revised ordinance to the Council.
“It says you can’t hunt or shoot in urbanized areas but it’s allowed in undeveloped land and rural areas. It talks about distance from buildings and being prohibited in city parks,” he said.
Mayor Jay Bunting said he’d heard from a lot of residents wanting this change. But he wanted to be assured that the ordinance wouldn’t infringe on residents’ Constitutional right to bear arms.
Chief Jeff Beahen answered him, “Are we infringing on rights here? No. We’re protecting the city. If you live in Minneapolis you can’t shoot anywhere. Not because we’re infringing on rights but because it’s not safe.”
The ordinance also gives the Chief of Police the authority to grant special permission to those whose land may not meet the criteria as written but who can prove that they can still hunt or shoot safely on their property.
Beahen cited an example of a resident who recently came in for a permit. He lived on 3 acres that backed up to a corn field but was located in a widely spaced housing development. He wanted to hunt deer on his property with a bow and arrow.
Beahen issued him a permit on the condition that he only aim in the direction of the corn field.
“I’ve had six residents come in since the permit process began and all six got permission to shoot,” he said, adding, “It’s my intention to work with every resident who comes in.”
A permit can be obtained by filling out a form available at the Rogers Police Department or on the City’s website. The permit is free of cost but must be renewed annually.
In other matters, the Rogers Police Department received $3,000 in donations, $2,000 from the Police Foundation and $1,000 from a private donor, to purchase three automatic electronic defibrillators to outfit the three squad cars that are still without this equipment.
Also, Bunting suggested that a public safety task force be formed where Council members and local law enforcement leaders can meet to share information and concerns regarding public safety in the area. Bunting cited the recent discovery of a home in the city that was full of stolen merchandise and drugs as one reason why the task force should be formed.