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Government & Politics

Who Regulates Shooting Ranges in Rural Ohio?

lOGO SOLON SPORTSMEN'S ASSOCIATION
SOLON SPORTSMEN'S ASSOCIATION

For more than a dozen years, a farmer in Ashtabula County, has been complaining about a gun club a few miles from his property. 

That’s raising questions about who regulates rural shooting ranges in Ohio.

In court filings, Robert Spencer says several stray rounds that he believes came from the Solon Sportsmen’s Association have landed at his place.  But township and county officials have told him they have no authority over shooting ranges outside of zoned areas.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issues permits for ranges. But State Sen. Capri Cafaro, who represents Spencer’s district, says the agency has no actual authority over them. 

“This is an issue that has come up in Ashtabula County before.  And, I think that the way the current regulatory oversight is structured, ODNR doesn’t necessarily have the force of enforcement.  All they’re doing is looking for a check list of things in order to be able to operate, and there’s not necessarily follow up on that.”

There have been no injuries at the Spencer farm, but Cafaro says she is looking into what might be done at the legislative level to sort out jurisdiction over rural gun ranges.