Don’t let the excitement of Election Day distract you from the November 8 meeting of the Meade County Commission, which will give first reading that glorious patriotic day to an ordinance governing shooting ranges in South Dakota’s sprawlingest county.
Invoking its authority under SDCL 21-10-32 to regulate the location and construction of sport shooting ranges, the Meade County Commission proposes to require any new sport shooting range and any existing range planning a substantial expansion to obtain a license from the county for a fee yet to be determined. Shooting range license developers would have to submit a detailed site plan, including a noise study, to obtain a license. The ordinance would limit noise to 64 decibels outside the nearest occupied residence, school, hotel, hospital, or church. The ordinance would further limit noise by restricting hours of operation to no earlier than half an hour after sunrise to half an hour before sunset.
The ordinance would require setbacks from occupied structures and public roads of a half-mile along the line of fire for rifle ranges and 300 yards for shotgun ranges. Ranges would have to be built according to standards set out in the National Rifle Association’s Range Source Book.
Meade County State’s Attorney Kenneth Chleborad says the proposed ordinance is “not directly related” to Game Fish and Parks’ plan to build the Kristi Noem Memorial Shooting Range for Guns and Campaign Photos, but he acknowledges the GF&P proposal was the “impetus” for this discussion. A key part of the discussion will be the county’s authority to regulate a project proposed by the state. To that point, it is worth noting that SDCL 21-10-33 defines the sport shooting ranges that local governments may regulate to include “any shooting range located on public or private land or operated by a private entity or by a public entity, and includes a law enforcement shooting range.” The 2013 Legislature added that phrase about public or private ranges.
The Meade County Commission meets Tuesday, November 8, at 9 a.m. at 1300 Sherman Street in Sturgis.