NewsBank InfoWeb The Daily Oklahoman The Daily Oklahoman January 23, 2002 Gun ordinance changes denied Author: Ellie Sutter; Staff Writer Edition: CITY Section: THE NORMAN OKLAHOMAN/TODAY IV Page: 1 Dateline: MOORE Estimated printed pages: 2 Article Text: MOORE - Members of the City Council unanimously voted Tuesday not to change the city's ordinances on when a firearm may be discharged in the city limits.
At the council's Jan 7 meeting, City Attorney Randy Brink proposed changes to the ordinance. One change would have banned shooting a gun for any purpose except to protect life and property or in the line of duty. It removed hunting as an allowed use.
The second proposed change would have allowed hunting but only with a shotgun using smaller than No. 2 shot, and the gun could not be discharged within 600 feet of a building or road.
Police Chief Ted Williams said he had received complaints from residents about guns being discharged and asked the council to adopt an ordinance the department could enforce.
"It's easier to enforce a 'no' ordinance than a distance ordinance," he said.
Resident Richard Jury argued that he needed to be able to shoot a gun on his property to frighten geese eating his alfalfa crop.
During the Jan. 7 meeting, the council postponed the issue.
On Tuesday, several other residents, all of whom own large tracts of land which they farm, spoke to the council.
C.A. Matthesen told the council that he owns 400 acres at 1600 S Bryant. He's been there since 1946, and it was due to his efforts and the expenditure of his money that the area was annexed into Moore and not Oklahoma City.
He said he did all the legwork to have the area annexed.
As for the proposed ordinances, Matthesen said he hoped the council can keep as much of it as possible out of police control.
"I hope it doesn't get out of hand and we lose our independence," Matthesen said.
He said he needs to be able to kill coyotes.
"We have new-born calves that are killed by coyotes as soon as they are dropped," he said.
He said he also shoots over the heads of geese that gather on his land and eat his grain.
His son, George Matthesen, who also lives on the 400 acres, said he's lost three calves to coyotes this year.
"If I am to protect the herd, I have to hunt coyotes in the day time," he said.
Then he added a comment with which many country-dwellers can relate.
"Coyotes are funny. When you are out there working they'll come right up to you. When you've got a gun, they don't," George Matthesen said.
Councilman Sid Porter asked him what type of gun he used to shoot coyotes.
"A small-caliber rifle," he said.
Jury said he needs to be able to shoot rabid skunks.
"You can't depend on animal control to come out at 11:30 at night when your dog has one cornered in the front yard - or on the porch," Jury said.
Another resident said she owns 18 acres, and she could not fire a gun on her property anywhere and not break the 600-foot no-shooting distance.
After hearing the residents' comments, City Manager Steve Eddy said it appeared that hunting might not be the issue.
"If it isn't, you may not want to do anything," Eddy told the council.
The council agreed and unanimously approved Councilman Jack McAlister's motion to postpone the issue indefinitely.
Eddy did tell the landowners that they should be aware that police will respond to complaints of shots being fired so they can expect to have to deal with this occasionally.
Councilman Porter also said anyone who irresponsibly discharges a gun will still be prosecuted.
Copyright 2002 Oklahoma Publishing Company Record Number: 2187909