People in this county breathed a sigh of relief when our commissioners declared a year-long moratorium on new gun range permits last December. It was the right time to consider what policies need to be in place when issuing permits.The current guidelines are not sufficient for the county to make responsible decisions around these sensitive issues, particularly with the changing weaponry and the growing population of our county.
The Jefferson County Sportsmen’s Association (JCSA), operating on county property near Port Townsend since 1962, has an operating agreement with the county that is up for renewal in 2025. A pre-application has has been made by Clallam County resident Joe D’Amico for an extensive for-profit para-military style training facility on the shores of Tarboo Lake, a lake used for generations by families and fisherman alike. The Tarboo Ridge Coalition has been formed to stop this training facility from coming into existence, believing strongly that a camp of this nature is not appropriate in this location, if anywhere in Jefferson County.
The Review Committee on Commercial Shooting Facilities meetings occur every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the courthouse and are open to the public. TRC makes sure there is at least one representative in the audience. (We would love company and happy to provide you with your own TRC button!)
Here is what we can report so far:
- The TRC has representation on the Committee. After four meetings, it is clear that there are many competing interests. It remains to be seen if they will be able to come to any majority agreement.
- The meetings are being taped and are available to the public on the Jefferson County website under AV Capture.
- Our goal at TRC is to show that a paramilitary shooting facility at Tarboo Lake would be harmful to the environment and destroy the enjoyment of the lake by the Community for generations to come.
- the new ordinance will be drafted by county employees, not the Committee, presumably reflecting the input of the Committee. Given the Committee is divided in so many ways, this will certainly be a challenge.
Please keep an eye on the Moratorium meetings. There is a great deal of work for the committee to accomplish in a short amount of time and we want to be ready to respond as needed when the draft ordinance is ready to go to the commissioners. This is about all of us in Jefferson County and how to create safe places for gun practice while preserving our peaceful, rural communities.