Hamilton’s firearms bylaw confusing, misunderstood, say residents

News Mar 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

 Hamilton’s existing firearms bylaw is a confusing mess of overlapping regulations that need to be properly explained to the public regardless if they use a firearm or not, say a number of residents at a recent public meeting.

“The bylaw needs to be clear, cut and dry,” said Mike Moseley Jr. of Ancaster, one of 14 people who attended the March 1 meeting at the Ancaster Old Town Hall.

Moseley said the bylaw is so confusing that there is no person to talk to about it. He said if he asks a city official about an issue, he is referred to a councillor, who will then tell him to talk to a police official. He said he attended the meeting to see if his property was included in the proposed area that prohibited firearm discharges. It wasn’t.

He said prior to amalgamation, Ancaster politicians prohibited the discharge of firearms, but had difficulty enforcing it because they didn’t properly identify the area where the bylaw took effect.

Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s municipal law enforcement, said at the meeting the discharge of firearms is prohibited in urban areas and will continue to be under the updated bylaw.

In upper Stoney Creek the discharging of firearms is prohibited, but the use of bows is allowed. And in the rural areas of Hamilton, the discharge of firearms is allowed, but with restrictions, he said.

Ustrzycki, who is overseeing the review of the firearms bylaw, acknowledged the current bylaw needs updating.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion about the current bylaw,” Ustrzycki. “We need to clarify it. Make people understand it.”

The city also held public meetings in Binbrook and Flamborough, which attracted over 50 people.

Ustrzycki said one of the reasons for updating  the firearms bylaw is because Hamilton’s urban settlements have expanded into rural areas. For instance, in Elfrida, identified by the city as a growth commercial and residential area, on the Stoney Creek side, the discharge of a firearm is prohibited, but on the Glanbrook side, it is allowed.

He said the current bylaw identifies only four settlement areas that prohibit the discharge of firearms, including Binbrook and Jerseyville. But urban settlement areas have expanded throughout the city to include Elfrida, Lynden, Rockton, Sheffield, Carluke, Tapleytown, Carlisle, Freelton and others.

“Should these be included (in the bylaw)?” he asked.

The firearms bylaw currently allows farmers to discharge a weapon to protect their livestock. There are also exemptions made for gun clubs and special events. Military personnel and police officials are exempt from the bylaw.

As part of the proposed bylaw, staff is considering including bows and crossbows in the definition of weapon.

Ustrzycki emphasized the city has no intention of banning guns in Hamilton, an idea that was promoted on social media last year and prompted record turnouts at public meetings held in Glanbrook and Ancaster.

He said review will include overlapping jurisdiction involving municipal, provincial and federal regulations, safety issues, best practices and enforcement and administration. There also needs to be a process regarding complaints from the public, said Ustrzycki. There were three complaints in 2016, he said.

“We need a community strategy,” he said.

Ustrzycki said as part of the city’s consultation process, staff is meeting with a working group — representatives from 44 community stakeholders — to help provide suggestions.

But the main priority for the updated firearms bylaw is to maintain public safety, he said.

In addition, overseeing the draft bylaw will be police officers, firearm instructors, conservation officers, military personnel and other people familiar with firearms. Ustrzycki said he is a former police officer and prosecutor, so he has some familiarity with firearms.

A person at the meeting criticized the process, calling it “insulting” because the proposed bylaw would be created by people who know nothing about firearms. He apologized to the group and Ustrzycki and abruptly left the meeting.

Ustrzycki said he wants to have recommendations for an updated firearms bylaw to councillors by the fall. But he said a draft bylaw is still months away from being presented to politicians.

 

Hamilton’s firearms bylaw confusing, misunderstood, say residents

News Mar 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

 Hamilton’s existing firearms bylaw is a confusing mess of overlapping regulations that need to be properly explained to the public regardless if they use a firearm or not, say a number of residents at a recent public meeting.

“The bylaw needs to be clear, cut and dry,” said Mike Moseley Jr. of Ancaster, one of 14 people who attended the March 1 meeting at the Ancaster Old Town Hall.

Moseley said the bylaw is so confusing that there is no person to talk to about it. He said if he asks a city official about an issue, he is referred to a councillor, who will then tell him to talk to a police official. He said he attended the meeting to see if his property was included in the proposed area that prohibited firearm discharges. It wasn’t.

He said prior to amalgamation, Ancaster politicians prohibited the discharge of firearms, but had difficulty enforcing it because they didn’t properly identify the area where the bylaw took effect.

Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s municipal law enforcement, said at the meeting the discharge of firearms is prohibited in urban areas and will continue to be under the updated bylaw.

In upper Stoney Creek the discharging of firearms is prohibited, but the use of bows is allowed. And in the rural areas of Hamilton, the discharge of firearms is allowed, but with restrictions, he said.

Ustrzycki, who is overseeing the review of the firearms bylaw, acknowledged the current bylaw needs updating.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion about the current bylaw,” Ustrzycki. “We need to clarify it. Make people understand it.”

The city also held public meetings in Binbrook and Flamborough, which attracted over 50 people.

Ustrzycki said one of the reasons for updating  the firearms bylaw is because Hamilton’s urban settlements have expanded into rural areas. For instance, in Elfrida, identified by the city as a growth commercial and residential area, on the Stoney Creek side, the discharge of a firearm is prohibited, but on the Glanbrook side, it is allowed.

He said the current bylaw identifies only four settlement areas that prohibit the discharge of firearms, including Binbrook and Jerseyville. But urban settlement areas have expanded throughout the city to include Elfrida, Lynden, Rockton, Sheffield, Carluke, Tapleytown, Carlisle, Freelton and others.

“Should these be included (in the bylaw)?” he asked.

The firearms bylaw currently allows farmers to discharge a weapon to protect their livestock. There are also exemptions made for gun clubs and special events. Military personnel and police officials are exempt from the bylaw.

As part of the proposed bylaw, staff is considering including bows and crossbows in the definition of weapon.

Ustrzycki emphasized the city has no intention of banning guns in Hamilton, an idea that was promoted on social media last year and prompted record turnouts at public meetings held in Glanbrook and Ancaster.

He said review will include overlapping jurisdiction involving municipal, provincial and federal regulations, safety issues, best practices and enforcement and administration. There also needs to be a process regarding complaints from the public, said Ustrzycki. There were three complaints in 2016, he said.

“We need a community strategy,” he said.

Ustrzycki said as part of the city’s consultation process, staff is meeting with a working group — representatives from 44 community stakeholders — to help provide suggestions.

But the main priority for the updated firearms bylaw is to maintain public safety, he said.

In addition, overseeing the draft bylaw will be police officers, firearm instructors, conservation officers, military personnel and other people familiar with firearms. Ustrzycki said he is a former police officer and prosecutor, so he has some familiarity with firearms.

A person at the meeting criticized the process, calling it “insulting” because the proposed bylaw would be created by people who know nothing about firearms. He apologized to the group and Ustrzycki and abruptly left the meeting.

Ustrzycki said he wants to have recommendations for an updated firearms bylaw to councillors by the fall. But he said a draft bylaw is still months away from being presented to politicians.

 

Hamilton’s firearms bylaw confusing, misunderstood, say residents

News Mar 06, 2017 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

 Hamilton’s existing firearms bylaw is a confusing mess of overlapping regulations that need to be properly explained to the public regardless if they use a firearm or not, say a number of residents at a recent public meeting.

“The bylaw needs to be clear, cut and dry,” said Mike Moseley Jr. of Ancaster, one of 14 people who attended the March 1 meeting at the Ancaster Old Town Hall.

Moseley said the bylaw is so confusing that there is no person to talk to about it. He said if he asks a city official about an issue, he is referred to a councillor, who will then tell him to talk to a police official. He said he attended the meeting to see if his property was included in the proposed area that prohibited firearm discharges. It wasn’t.

He said prior to amalgamation, Ancaster politicians prohibited the discharge of firearms, but had difficulty enforcing it because they didn’t properly identify the area where the bylaw took effect.

Robert Ustrzycki, senior project manager for the city’s municipal law enforcement, said at the meeting the discharge of firearms is prohibited in urban areas and will continue to be under the updated bylaw.

In upper Stoney Creek the discharging of firearms is prohibited, but the use of bows is allowed. And in the rural areas of Hamilton, the discharge of firearms is allowed, but with restrictions, he said.

Ustrzycki, who is overseeing the review of the firearms bylaw, acknowledged the current bylaw needs updating.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion about the current bylaw,” Ustrzycki. “We need to clarify it. Make people understand it.”

The city also held public meetings in Binbrook and Flamborough, which attracted over 50 people.

Ustrzycki said one of the reasons for updating  the firearms bylaw is because Hamilton’s urban settlements have expanded into rural areas. For instance, in Elfrida, identified by the city as a growth commercial and residential area, on the Stoney Creek side, the discharge of a firearm is prohibited, but on the Glanbrook side, it is allowed.

He said the current bylaw identifies only four settlement areas that prohibit the discharge of firearms, including Binbrook and Jerseyville. But urban settlement areas have expanded throughout the city to include Elfrida, Lynden, Rockton, Sheffield, Carluke, Tapleytown, Carlisle, Freelton and others.

“Should these be included (in the bylaw)?” he asked.

The firearms bylaw currently allows farmers to discharge a weapon to protect their livestock. There are also exemptions made for gun clubs and special events. Military personnel and police officials are exempt from the bylaw.

As part of the proposed bylaw, staff is considering including bows and crossbows in the definition of weapon.

Ustrzycki emphasized the city has no intention of banning guns in Hamilton, an idea that was promoted on social media last year and prompted record turnouts at public meetings held in Glanbrook and Ancaster.

He said review will include overlapping jurisdiction involving municipal, provincial and federal regulations, safety issues, best practices and enforcement and administration. There also needs to be a process regarding complaints from the public, said Ustrzycki. There were three complaints in 2016, he said.

“We need a community strategy,” he said.

Ustrzycki said as part of the city’s consultation process, staff is meeting with a working group — representatives from 44 community stakeholders — to help provide suggestions.

But the main priority for the updated firearms bylaw is to maintain public safety, he said.

In addition, overseeing the draft bylaw will be police officers, firearm instructors, conservation officers, military personnel and other people familiar with firearms. Ustrzycki said he is a former police officer and prosecutor, so he has some familiarity with firearms.

A person at the meeting criticized the process, calling it “insulting” because the proposed bylaw would be created by people who know nothing about firearms. He apologized to the group and Ustrzycki and abruptly left the meeting.

Ustrzycki said he wants to have recommendations for an updated firearms bylaw to councillors by the fall. But he said a draft bylaw is still months away from being presented to politicians.