The Wrangell Borough Assembly Tuesday approved changes to local firearm laws and made them a bit less restrictive.
Previously, borough law made it illegal to discharge a firearm within half a mile of any public street, road or highway.
The new ordinance keeps the half-mile buffer for paved public roads up to 7 mile Zimovia Highway. It is also illegal to use a firearm within half a mile of the airport loop and Ishyama Drive.
From 7 mile Zimovia Highway, south, the buffer shrinks to a quarter-mile on paved public roads.
Wrangell resident Susan Wise-Eagle said she was worried that the original language of the ordinance would apply the quarter-mile buffer to logging roads and U.S. Forest Service roads.
“My biggest concern about restricting discharge of firearms in those areas is for us with the worn out parts that want to go deer hunting or moose hunting,” Wise-Eagle said. “We have to get a quarter-mile off the road, and especially if you shoot a moose, that’s a long way to pack a critter. Especially when you’re getting old and worn out.”
Police Chief Doug McCloskey supported Wise-Eagle’s suggestions and said the borough never intended to restrict hunting in those areas.
The new firearm ordinance defers to state laws that make it legal to carry a concealed weapon. This brings Wrangell in line with state law, effectively striking the borough’s previous ban on concealed carry.
The ordinance also established a $200 fine for abuse of the 911 system.
The assembly gave first-round approval for new moorage fees at the Meyers Chuck dock and a new reservation fee for boat storage at the Marine Service Center. The proposed fees will go to a public hearing and a second reading at the assembly’s April 28 meeting.