Greenwood’s police chief wants the City Council to take a second look at a proposed ordinance that relaxes firearms regulations to accommodate residents in the path of annexation who hunt on large tracts of family-owned land.
Under the ordinance approved on its second of three readings by the City Council this week, it would be legal to hunt on 10 acres or more of open or wooded land under specific guidelines and in compliance with applicable federal and state hunting laws.
"Naturally, as a police chief, I have an obligation for the safety of the citizens," Police Chief Will Dawson said. "I don’t think a 10-acre plot will keep citizens safe."
Dawson requested a study session with Arkansas Game & Fish Commission representatives for further consideration of the hunting acreage.
"I called a Game & Fish officer (Monday), and he laughed when I said 10 acres," Dawson said. "He said you might as well make it one."
The council agreed to schedule a study session at a time Game & Fish employees can attend.
"I think you are doing due diligence looking into it," Mayor Doug Kinslow said. "There’s no life, as you all know, worth any hunting."
The proposed law was inspired by potential annexation of areas north and west of the city that includes large tracts of undeveloped property used for hunting, in addition to Shadow Lake Estates. On Monday, the City Council approved the second of three readings to place the annexation proposal on the November general election ballot.
The firearms ordinance would replace one already on the books.
"A guy right now can walk up to my backyard and shoot a deer, and there’s nothing we can do about it," Planning Director Sonny Bell said. "It’s already happening. With this ordinance, we tell him he’s got to move further that way."
The concept of shotgun-only use on the larger tracts of land was also suggested.
"That makes very reasonable sense to me," Councilman Lance Terry said.