Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law

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Consultation has concluded

Draft By-Law Review

The Town of Huntsville is looking for feedback regarding the Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law in Huntsville. View the components of the new Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law.

The Town of Huntsville is looking for feedback regarding the Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law in Huntsville. View the components of the new Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law.


If you have comments or feedback about the Draft Discharge of Firearms By-law, you may enter notes here prior to 4:00pm on Friday, September 4, 2020.

Staff will monitor this area and will compile all results, but will not provide comment. 

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CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

I am a legal gun and archery owner. I am obliged to follow a litany of both federal and provincial laws restricting the storage and use of my tools. Furthermore, as a hunter, we follow self imposed limits when we use the tools of our sport. If i misuse these tools in an urban, or non urban setting, the authorities will catch up with me. We do not need more levels of government restricting our sport.

A huge part of the reason I chose to live in Huntsville is to pursue my outdoor passions. One on my simple pleasures in life, similar to growing vegetables in my yard, is firing some arrows at a target as practice for the coming archery season. I do so using a proper and safe backstop, as the law requires , to insure i have control of my arrows. I do this , not only because it is the law, but because i do not want to sacrifice the safety of others (and potentially go to jail), or loose any $30 arrows. Again, i do not need to be restricted in this pursuit by a silly municipal bylaw? I would obviously not fire a rifle in my yard because it is unsafe, be it legal or not.

Restricting the use of shotguns along shorelines severely restricts waterfowl hunting. Again , hunters are obligated to shoot only when safe to do so, we don't need a bylaw to enforce common sense.

Please let us continue to enjoy the pursuits that attracted us to Huntsville in the first place.

RdG over 1 year ago

I strongly agree with this Bylaw AND The Town of Huntsville MUST / SHOULD encompass more areas (within this bylaw) around the greater Huntsville + Port Sydney area. Why? Nothing worse than sitting out on your front yard/ deck/ where ever AND being startled to death with gun blasts on a daily basis!!!!!!! What are people shooting at??? Is that bullet going to hit me!!!!!??????
Case in point today (Sept 3rd 2020) ... relaxing, eating, and drinking wine (on vacation) AND I jumped right out of my Muskoka Chair (I live here year round + NOT a tourist) due to the constant shotgun blasts across the road (Muskoka Road 10) AT 2:30 (14:30) TODAY!!!! It HAS to STOP!!!!!! Thank you!!!!

Belle over 1 year ago

Enforce the current laws. Councillors can refer complainants to the OPP and Conservation Authority. 911 exists for serious complaints. If it isn't 911 worthy there is no issue, other than somebody does not like the look or sound of the harvesting of game. The extremely well funded O.P.P. and Conservation Authority already have multiple laws and vast resources on hand to deal with the safe use of firearms and hunting regulations. These laws carry stiff penalties, including jail time, and massive fines, the crown has a massive advantage in any prosecution. This proposed By-Law (written in crayon) is nothing more than NIMBYism, proposed by people who want to live in Huntsville but change it to suit their interests. Don't move to a rural area if you don't like rural life. The last thing the town of Huntsville needs to do is encroach upon actual authorities with bylaws that were cobbled together by low information, spineless councilors for purely cynical political reasons, simply because a group of enraged Karens living at Woodland Heights and or Fox Lake don't like the sound of firearms. Move back to the city where guns are slung by criminals rather than by law abiding people enjoying Muskoka Life.

CommonSense over 1 year ago

Don't know what has prompted this but parts of it are ridiculous! I presently have over 2 acres of property with over 100 acres of bush behind my propery. To not be able use a pellet gun, bb gun 22, even for target shooting is total nonsense. Further, in the past I have had the occasion of having to end the life of an injured deer and a raccoon with distemper. Are you suggesting that I may have to call animal control and wait who knows how long to have someone actually show up while these animals are suffering?

wiloran over 1 year ago

Best government is less government. Leave our freedoms alone. What comes next with more city people moving to the Muskokas. Many people do not understand firearms and our strict Canadian laws, so fear enters into the equation. Many politians jump in just for votes, (eg. Trudeau) Leave that part of the by-laws alone. We have enough laws for the safety of our citizens.

northernhunter over 1 year ago

Assuming this by-law is based on a sound assessment of safety and environmental concerns, then the by-law should include all lakes with residential shoreline properties within the Town of Huntsville, not just the named few. We would like to see Fox Lake included in the final by-law.

Fox Lake Association over 1 year ago

This By-Law is ludicrous and should not be passed without some serious re-visioning. While I am NOT an active gun enthusiast or supporter, I find this to be a serious encroachment upon personal rights.

What is the justification for this By-Law? I cannot support a By-Law without understanding the background or reasoning requiring it. No explanation has been provided as to why this By-Law is necessary. What is the problem that the Town is trying to resolve and what does it expect to achieve with this By-Law. Without knowing the reason for the By-Law it can’t be determined if this By-Law will resolve the problem. It makes no sense to write By-Laws just to have more By-Laws.
And this By-Law in its present state is not a good By-Law.

Further analysis below;
1.3 Definition of Firearm should NOT include air gun, spring gun, pellet gun or paint ball gun. By standard definition, a Firearm is any WEAPON that discharges a projectile by the action of an explosive such as gunpowder. Air guns, Spring guns, pellet gun and paintball guns should not be lumped under the same heading as handguns and rifles that use explosive discharge.
Devices that can emit projectiles should be classified by the damage that they can cause and controlled appropriately. One easy way to do this is based on muzzle velocity.

2.1 b) and 2.1 c). The identified areas are too encompassing and restrictive. This section should be re-written to permit usage on private lands by land owner or with landowners permission provided that the projectile DOES NOT cross outside of the land owners property line regardless of property size.
2.1 c) What is the rationale for including “within 100 meters of all the following water bodies”. Why are these lands restricted?

3.1 Allow the use of Bows, air gun, spring gun, pellet gun or paintball gun on private property providing that the projectile does not exit the private property boundary.

6.1 No one is permitted to enter private property without just cause. Anyone trying to enter my property must request permission and provide suitable proof of non-compliance with the ByLaw prior to entering private property. This is a violation of rights.
6.2 An Officer has no rights to enter and inspect private land without demonstratable cause. Again this is a violation of property rights.

7.1 Again without proof of allegation there is no right to enter private land.

There appears to be no rhyme or reason to the restricted areas. Some waterfront areas are included whereas others are not. What is the justification?
Some residential lots are included, and others are not. The area coverage is inconsistent.
Parts of the Locks area is included whereas farther down the river it is not included.

This By-Law contains many flaws and is targeted to the wrong purpose. It is too restrictive and generic in nature. This By-Law should be focused more towards the destruction of property or the endangerment of people. What exactly is the problem that the Town is trying to resolve. Is there some hidden agenda?

kzytaruk over 1 year ago

This is a exercise to stifle the enjoyment of law abiding and legal gun and rifle owners who enjoy the sport of hunting, target practising, and sighting in the guns and rifles.
I would like to see the town provide reasons and numbers as to why we are wasting time and money on this, if it is to apiece the crime numbers than they are looking at the wrong people. I also fully support the stand the OFAH has on this. I hope when this is all done, we still have the right to enjoy our sport and way of life.!!

Think over 1 year ago

It makes no sense to limit firearms around some lakes and not others. All lakes that are heavily populated should have the same restrictions. Fox Lake MUST be included. Other lakes probably should also be added (e.g. Hart, south end of Buck)

Foxpause over 1 year ago

I think this is a joke how can you do this in places that have legal mnr hunting zones so your going to tell hunters who pay thousands of dollars each year to hunt they can't hunt in their old spot now because you can't fire a gun in that spot .

Sandman over 1 year ago

I am primarily confused by this bylaw.

1.3 It appears that items have been added to the definition of a firearm that are not legally considered firearms ie paintball guns and sub 500'/s pellet guns and a "spring-gun"? (noting of course the absence of airsoft guns).

2.1-A People can't just walk onto other people's property and shoot, this is covered under other regulations and laws already. Requiring written permission as a bylaw is just making unnecessary hassle for the people that do cooperate and doesn't prevent people from trespassing, which is already illegal.

3.1-h&i Hunting within town limits is ok with shotgun and bow? Wait, people can't shoot paintball guns, but they can fire shotguns in town as long as they're sighting them or engaging in target practice or hunting? What?
Also, this is basically saying that you can shoot bows and shotguns as an exception to requiring the permission of the owner of the property?

General: Rather than restating laws already in effect regarding times of day for lawful discharge, would it not make more sense to reference those laws? When/if those laws change, then your bylaw doesn't have to be revised.

Exceptions would benefit from outlining what points they apply to, or remove the confusion by reordering the prohibitions in 2.0 ie. there should be no exception to 2.1.a for hunters and target shooting with shotguns, but there would be for law enforcement personnel.

Opinion - Rather than outright prohibition of paintball, air-guns or other target and varmint related guns, I would much rather see regulations outlined in the bylaw that allow for safe operation. Prohibiting people from using an airgun to shoot targets in their basement or backyard isn't going to help prevent people from being stupid with them to begin with. Outlining, instead, what is required to do it safely and which specific firearms should not be discharged within town limits (ie. centrefire rifles) would seem to be a better plan to me, allowing honest people to be in compliance while criminalizing harmful behaviour.

I also don't understand the need for these regulations on the whole of the district of Muskoka. There are many people who have a smaller property than prescribed 3 hectares, but live adjacent to crown land or large stretches of unoccupied land or in smaller communities of like-minded individuals while not in the town limits. Why should these people be prevented from taking game or safely target shooting on their property while being safely distanced from places of occupancy? Again, this isn't preventing harmful actions taken by people who are endangering lives, but penalizing people for not owning enough land?

jlav over 1 year ago

I noticed that Mellisa is not within an area that has been designated as a restricted area. Given the closeness of the houses in the 4 corner area where east and north Waseosa meets I would have thought it would be considered. With the new types of ammunition for shotguns there is a capacity for the slug to carry several hundreds of feet now where before it could not, the old pellet style ammo was more short range.
With the houses so close here, we live within that area, I cannot see why it would be allowed to have guns discharged in this area, as it is there are tree stands in the area and as a hunter I wouldn’t fire a gun anywhere around here in fear of hitting a house, vehicle or person.
This area has become very busy over the last few years with walkers and cyclists as well as the many who live here. There has been several new homes built slowly filling in many of the vacant lots. So knowing the types of ammunition, the distances they can travel, the closeness of the homes in the area and the frequency of traffic I would suggest that there should be consideration for this area to be on the restricted area list.

Old dog over 1 year ago

I don't understand the purpose of this bylaw. Are you saying that you can't get discharge these weapons in the restricted areas, but it is okay to do it in the non restricted areas of your maps with the landowners permission?
If so, this bylaw should be amended to include other areas within the town of Huntsville boundaries where it would be unsafe to discharge some of these weapons. There are areas on your maps show as blank spaces where there are subdivisions of residences and seasonal residences. There are areas where children walk to school bus stops, and wait for buses. There are recreational areas where people go for walks and exercise. Do we have to continue to hide during hunting season, or is this bylaw an attempt reduce the risk to these neighbourhoods.

Mary Lake over 1 year ago

1. My property is less than 7.4 acres, but I have permission from my neighbours to bow hunt on adjoining land, which increases the size to over 100 acres.
I suggest that the language in the bylaw be amended to take contiguous properties into account.

2. With regards to the 100 m distance from the lakes: this will affect hunting of migratory waterfowl. Ontario regulations prohibit hunting of waterfowl further than 300 m from the edge of the water; your bylaw prohibits hunting within 100 m of the water. These regulations are in conflict.

dhogg over 1 year ago

in 3.1 (h)&(i)
the exemptions are for shotguns and bows for the only two lawful uses of firearms, target shooting and hunting.
This seems like a roundabout way of banning only rifles, since they are the only thing really impacted. correct me if i'm wrong. but as long as the property is more than 3 hectares in size, nothing changed for people who want to discharge a shotgun or bow, as per 3.1(h)&(i)
This bill could be shortened to just say "no rifles, shotguns and bows must be on 3 hectares or more".
Adding rifles to this exemption would have made sense, as it would only really restrict the areas from near large body's of water and property without enough land to be safe.
Adding an exemption for rifles would make this bylaw much, much more persuasive, as the rest seems to make sense.
However, as written I would not support adding even more unnecessary confusion to our gun laws.

JamesM over 1 year ago

I think that other smaller but mostly residential lakes should be included on the list of lakes with a 100 m firearms free zone.

TEDS over 1 year ago

I strongly suggest that you take into consideration the recommendations of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. I fully support their recommendations and knowledge regarding the use of firearms.

Lessgovernment over 1 year ago