Virginia legislation seeks to restrict number of outdoor gun ranges

Legislation proposed in early January by a Virginia Democratic lawmaker could effectively limit the number of outdoor gun ranges in the commonwealth through local governments by rezoning property for residential use.

The bill was authored by Democratic state Sen. John Bell, whose district covers portions of Loudoun and Prince William counties. According to Bell’s legislation, outdoor ranges would not be able to operate within 500 yards of any property zoned for residential use unless the Range Design Criteria established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Health, Safety, and Security have been met.

The bill defines outdoor ranges as “any partially enclosed or unenclosed area or facility designed for the use of rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.”

The state of Virginia offers more than 70 outdoor shooting ranges to the public. The Washington Examiner reached out to Bell’s office for comment, as several of the outdoor ranges are located in his district, but did not hear back.

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