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LibbyMt.com > News > September 2008 > Ban on automatic weapons considered for county range

Ban on automatic weapons considered for county range
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
September 10, 2008

A ban on fully automatic weapons is being considered for the county shooting range off Farm to Market Road.

Lincoln County Commissioner Rita Windom said last week that she received complaints from area residents after Libby police and Marine Corps recruiters held a session at the range for Marine recruits that included firing of automatic weapons.

"Neighbors out there were very upset about the fully automatic weapons out there, and I can understand that," she said.

While there are currently no posted rules regarding automatic weapons at the range, Windom said she will likely have a sign posted prohibiting them.

"I just donít think a public rifle range is an appropriate place for fully automatic weapons," she said.

Windom spoke to Mayor Tony Berget about the issue and said she planned to write a letter to Police Chief Clay Coker.

Coker said the session was at the request of the Marine recruiter from Kalispell and was done to familiarize recruits with automatic weapons. The weapons that were fired Ė M-16 rifles and an Uzi submachine gun Ė are owned by the police department, Coker said.

About 10 people took part in the weekend shooting session, which was overseen by Coker and Sgt. Jim Smith of the Libby Police Department. Coker noted that he and Smith are both Marine veterans and firearms instructors and that range rules were strictly followed.

The range was kept open to the public during the session, Coker said.

"The range could not have been any safer," he said.

The shooting was done at the public range because the police department does not have a range of its own, Coker said.

"Itís open to the public," he said. "Weíre the public. We went out and used it."
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Editorís Note: See the September 8, 2008 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Monday, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.


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