Residents on large properties in Eagle are now allowed to shoot firearms on their land, even if they reside within city limits.
Eagle City Council voted on Tuesday 3-1 in favor of altering Ordinance 861 to allow people to discharge a firearm on properties that are 20 acres or larger. Before the Oct. 12 vote, it was illegal to shoot a firearm, an airsoft gun, or a BB-gun in the city.
Kenny Pittman, Melissa Gindlesperger, and Brad Pike all voted in favor of the ordinance, while Charlie Baun voted against it.
Eagle joins Star as the only cities in the the Treasure Valley where residents are able to shoot a firearm within city limits. Justin Elliot, an officer of the Eagle Police Department, used to work in Star and said there are no firearm restrictions there whatsoever.
Eagle Mayor Jason Pierce said the ordinance benefits people who live in the county on land that gets annexed into the city.
He gave an example of someone living outside city limits, having an extensive amount of land, being able to hunt and shoot on their property, then being annexed to the city and no longer having that opportunity.
“Imagine if you hunted on your 6,000-acre property legally, and then got annexed into city limits and could no longer hunt on that property. This gives those people the ability to do so,” Pierce said.
Eagle resident Burk Mantel is opposed to the ordinance change because, he said, it increases the danger near his land. Mantel said in the past, before the ordinance change, he experienced bullets whizzing past his horse pasture from federal land adjacent to his property.
“No family is going to want to take a walk around people shooting at things,” Mantel said.
There is also no restriction on the type of firearm someone can use, so if a firearm can shoot long-distance, it could potentially be dangerous to others living in the area, Baun said.
He voiced his concerns at the meeting, regarding things like long-range weapons.
“We run into major safety issues,” he said, regarding long-range weapons. “... I guess my biggest concern is what is deemed safe and what is deemed not safe.”
Gindlesperger, however, said she is concerned about telling residents what they can and cannot shoot on their own property. She also pointed out that there are few properties within city limits that have an extensive amount of land.
“It seems like a slippery slope to me,” she said. “There are some levels of personal responsibility.”
Even though residents can shoot their guns freely, they still have to follow the local hunting laws provided by Idaho Fish and Game. Some of these regulations include possessing hunting licenses and tags, hunting within season, and following weapon restrictions.