The District of Houston is considering a hunting prohibition within municipal boundaries.
The Firearms and Weapons Bylaw (No. 1052), adopted in 2014, states that “no person shall discharge a firearm, long bow, crossbow or weapon” within municipal boundaries. However, the discharge of firearms for the purpose of hunting on properties larger than two hectares (approximately five acres) is currently allowed.
Although council was expected to give first, second and third reading to a bylaw amendment that would remove the exception for hunters, council did not approve any readings last week. Instead, council directed staff to review the current bylaw to ensure consistency with other municipalities.
“Several concerns were raised with the bylaw as a whole, and staff will be reviewing firearm and weapon regulations and prohibitions in other communities,” said Gerald Pinchbeck, the district’s chief administrative officer.
The municipality has received several complaints from residents concerning the discharge of firearms on private property in residential areas, trespassing onto private property for hunting and other misconducts, according to a district staff report.
Calling it a “threat to public safety,” the report states that amending the current bylaw, which doesn’t prohibit all of these acts, is the easiest way to reduce the risk of firearms being discharged at or near rural residences.
If the proposed bylaw amendment had been approved, peace officers performing their duties and farmers engaged in the destruction of predators would still be allowed to discharge firearms within municipal boundaries.
A fine of $500 to $10,000 may be imposed on summary conviction for an offence under the bylaw, said Pinchbeck.