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W.V. BANS DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS WITHIN CITY

If you plan to go hunting or do a little target practice, don't take your weapon to West Valley City.

The City Council has enacted an ordinance that went into effect this week prohibiting discharging any firearms within the city limits.Karen S. Leftwich, assistant city manager, said City Hall and individual council members had been deluged with complaints from citizens when the upland game bird hunting season opened a little while ago. People complained that their windows and cars were being peppered with birdshot.

Also, there were a few incidents described as "life-threatening," while others were simply scary.

"One gentleman and his wife had been out walking, and someone discharged some type of gun and just barely missed them and hit a sign," Leftwich said. "That was just one of many complaints we received."

Residents turned out in force at a public hearing last Thursday to voice their displeasure at the unrestricted use of guns within the city, she said. A few hunters spoke in favor of leaving things as they were, but the majority favored the ban, she said.

One problem, Leftwich said, is that West Valley City has changed in nature in the past decade, with an increase in population and smaller areas suitable for hunting.

"We used to have a lot of open fields, especially in the western part of our city, and although there still are some left, we have a lot of subdivisions."

Leftwich said city officials realize that hunting is popular but felt they had no choice but to enact the ban.

"I'm sure it will disappoint some people. Hunting has been a recreational activity and a lot of people have enjoyed it, but the City Council and the city are charged with protecting the public interest," Leftwich said. "They just felt it was getting too dangerous."

The ordinance also outlaws such things as target practice. It prohibits discharging firearms, which are defined as guns, pistols, BB guns, pellet guns, and bows and arrows.

"They're considered to be a weapon just like guns and can do damage to persons and property," Leftwich said.

Violators could get a ticket and possibly be arrested.

The ordinance doesn't apply to people who are licensed to use weapons as part of their work, such as police officers.