The bill would enact new rule and regulation authority and amend existing zoning law regarding sport shooting ranges. Sport shooting ranges would be defined as any area designed and operated for the use of archery, rifles, shotguns, pistols, semiautomatic firearms, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.
The Secretary of Wildlife and Parks would be required to adopt rules and regulations establishing generally accepted operation practices for sport shooting ranges. The rules and regulations would have to be adopted within six months of the effective date of the act.
The bill would provide that a sport shooting range in operation on July 1, 1998 would not be subject to existing zoning law regarding nonconforming uses. Shooting ranges that could benefit from the exemption would be those in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks and where the land is used continuously for the operation of a shooting range after July 1, 1998.
If a building on a shooting range was damaged by more than 50 percent of its fair market value, restoration of the building would have to be completed within a year of the damage or settlement of any property damage claim. If those conditions are met, any building located on land used for a shooting range could be restored without conforming to local zoning requirements. Shooting ranges would be subject to floodplain regulations that apply to all land uses.
Testimony in support of the introduced version of the bill was presented to the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs by representatives of the: Department of Wildlife and Parks, National Rifle Association, Kansas State Rifle Association, Kansas Liberty Coalition and Capitol City Gun Club, Douglas County Rifle and Pistol Club, Kansas Sportsmen's Alliance, Mill Creek Rifle Club, and Air Capital Gun Club. Two individuals also presented testimony in support of the bill.
Opposition to the bill was expressed by representatives of: Wichita, Lenexa, and the League of Kansas Municipalities. A representative of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association expressed opposition to the assumption of risk defense provision in the introduced version of the bill.
The House Committee amended the bill to delete the reference to "military style" semiautomatic firearms from the definition of sport shooting range and to include managers and users in both provisions that address noise pollution. The Committee also amended the bill to delete the examples of risks that would be included in the assumption of risk defense and to include in that section the provision regarding determination of comparative negligence.
The House Committee of the Whole amended the bill to delete the assumption of risk and comparative negligence provisions.
The Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs received testimony in support of the bill from a representative of the Kansas Sportsmen's Alliance, the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks, and a number of individuals. Opponents to the bill included representatives of the Kansas Association of County Planning and Zoning Officials, Lenexa, Wichita, and the League of Kansas Municipalities. Several residents of a Lenexa subdivision located near a shooting range also presented testimony to the Senate Committee.
The Senate Committee amended the bill to place the nonconforming use provisions in existing law, rather than to create a new statute specifically for shooting ranges. The Committee's amendments also clarify the authority of the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks to determine the content of the standard operating practices for shooting ranges. Finally, the Senate Committee amendments would not exempt shooting ranges from local nuisance regulations.
The fiscal note prepared by the Division of the Budget for the introduced version of the bill states that the Department of Wildlife and Parks foresees no fiscal impact as a result of enactment of the bill. According to that fiscal note, the Association of Counties could not determine the fiscal impact of the bill on county governments. The Division points out in the fiscal note that the Governor's budget for FY 1999 included a $200,000 expenditure from the Wildlife and Parks Fee Fund for grants to local governments for development of shooting ranges. The fiscal note does not address any impact of amendments to the bill.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.