Mat-Su Borough Assembly hears heated public testimony on shooting range ordinance

“The public testimony had been heated throughout the night as dozens of people voiced their opposition. The cheering and clapping continued to get louder.

An overwhelming majority opposed the ordinance.

 “The proposed shooting range ordinance is a solution no one wants to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Scott Vukich, the owner of Pioneer Tactical.

The first draft of the proposed ordinance would require a conditional use permit for new commercial, educational and non-profit shooting ranges.

A second draft adjusted the decibel level and changed it to an administrative permit.

The ordinance prompted a gun rights rally at the end of January where hundreds came out to a protest outside the Mat-Su Borough building in Palmer.

Many of those people were also at the assembly’s meeting to tell members any new restrictions would infringe on their Second Amendment.

“For you guys to go against the Constitution of the United States really bothers me because what you’re leading up to is gun control,” said Cris Tyree of Wasilla.

Earlier in the evening, Howard urged the assembly to listen to their constituents.

“We elect you to be our mouthpieces. We elect you to do the will of the people,” Howard said.

Kenneth Bullman of Palmer said there’s already a limited number of public ranges in the Mat-Su Valley. He was concerned about what the restrictions could mean for future development and expressed the need for more ranges.

“People are going to shoot and if you don’t provide them with a well-maintained, clean place to shoot they’re going to shoot other places,” Bullman said.”