130th Ohio General Assembly
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(122nd General Assembly)
(Amended Substitute House Bill Number 209)



AN ACT
To enact sections 1533.031, 1533.83, 1533.84, and 1533.85 of the Revised Code to require the Chief of the Division of Wildlife to establish standards for the limitation and suppression of noise and for public safety at shooting ranges, to provide limited immunity from civil and criminal liability to persons who operate or use shooting ranges in substantial compliance with those rules, and to generally prohibit creating noise to interfere with hunting activity when the noise is not created on the lands or waters upon which the hunting activity may lawfully occur.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That sections 1533.031, 1533.83, 1533.84, and 1533.85 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 1533.031. (A) No person shall purposely prevent or attempt to prevent any person from hunting a wild animal as authorized by this chapter by creating noise or loud sounds through the use of implements when the use of the implements is intended primarily to affect the behavior of the wild animal being hunted, when the hunting is taking place on lands or waters upon which the hunting activity may lawfully occur, and when the noise or loud sounds are created on lands or waters other than the lands or waters upon which the hunting activity may lawfully occur. "Implements" does not include items being used in the due course of farming, forestry, or commercial practices.

(B) Upon petition by a person who is or reasonably may be affected by conduct that violates or will violate division (A) of this section and a showing by that person that the conduct has occurred in a particular place and may reasonably be expected to occur in or near that place again, a court of common pleas may enjoin the conduct in accordance with Civil Rule 65.

Sec. 1533.83. AS USED IN SECTIONS 1533.83 TO 1533.85 OF THE REVISED CODE:

(A) "Political subdivision" means a municipal corporation, township, county, or other body corporate and politic responsible for governmental activities in a geographic area smaller than that of the state.

(B) "Shooting range" means a facility operated for the purpose of shooting with firearms or archery equipment, whether publicly or privately owned and whether or not operated for profit, including, but not limited to, commercial bird shooting preserves and wild animal hunting preserves established pursuant to this chapter. "Shooting range" does not include a facility owned or operated by a municipal corporation, county, or township police district.

(C) "Harm" means injury, death, or loss to person or property.

(D) "The chief's noise rules" means the rules of the chief of the division of wildlife that are adopted pursuant to section 1533.84 of the Revised Code and that pertain to the limitation or suppression of noise at a shooting range or to the hours of operation of shooting ranges.

(E) "The chief's public safety rules" means the rules of the chief of the division of wildlife that are adopted pursuant to section 1533.84 of the Revised Code and that pertain to public safety, including standards for the reconstruction, enlargement, remodeling, or repair of any structure or facility that is part of a shooting range.

Sec. 1533.84. The chief of the division of wildlife, in accordance with section 1531.10 of the Revised Code, shall adopt rules establishing generally accepted standards for shooting ranges. These rules shall be no more stringent than national rifle association standards, and include standards for the limitation and suppression of noise, standards for the hours of operation of shooting ranges of the various types and at the various locations of ranges, and standards for public safety. The rules may include standards for the reconstruction, enlargement, remodeling, or repair of any structure or facility that is part of a shooting range provided that ANY LOCAL LAWS CREATING STANDARDS FOR the RECONSTRUCTION, ENLARGEMENT, REMODELING, OR REPAIR OF STRUCTURES or facilities THAT APPLY GENERALLY TO ALL STRUCTURES or facilities AND NOT EXCLUSIVELY OR PRIMARILY TO SHOOTING RANGES also shall APPLY TO SHOOTING RANGES. Nothing in this section limits the authority of a county or township board of zoning appeals to issue or deny conditional zoning certificates for the reconstruction, enlargement, remodeling, or repair of an existing shooting range pursuant to division (C) of section 303.14 or division (C) of section 519.14 of the Revised Code or the authority of a board of county commissioners or board of township trustees relating to the completion, restoration, reconstruction, extension, or substitution of nonconforming uses pursuant to section 303.19 or 519.19 of the Revised Code. AT THE TIME OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT, A SHOOTING RANGE SHALL COMPLY WITH all existing LOCAL ordinances, REGULATIONS, or laws.

The chief of the division of wildlife shall consult with a representative sample of persons and organizations that own, operate, or use shooting ranges and persons and organizations that represent counties, townships, municipal corporations, and holders of real property adjoining shooting ranges prior to filing or amending the rules required or authorized under this section in accordance with section 1531.10 of the Revised Code. A draft copy of the chief's PROPOSED rules or any subsequent amendments to the rules shall be submitted to representatives of the above-listed organizations, who shall be given thirty days to review and submit written comments on the draft rules to the chief. The chief shall consider but not be bound by the written comments and, after giving due regard to the public interests, shall file the initial rules in accordance with section 1531.10 of the Revised Code within one hundred eighty days after the effective date of this section.

Sec. 1533.85. (A)(1) The owner, operator, or user of a shooting range is not liable in damages in a civil action to any person for harm that allegedly is caused by the creation of noise at the shooting range or the failure to limit or suppress noise at the shooting range if the owner, operator, or user substantially complies with the chief's noise rules.

(2)(a) Division (A) of this section does not create a new cause of action or substantive legal right against an owner, operator, or user of a shooting range.

(b) Division (A) of this section does not affect any immunities from or defenses to civil liability established by other sections of the Revised Code or available at common law to which the owner, operator, or user of a shooting range may be entitled.

(c) Division (A) of this section shall apply only to harm that occurs on or after the effective date of this section.

(d) Division (A) of this section does not confer an immunity from civil liability in relation to an owner's, operator's, or user's actions or omissions that constitute negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentionally tortious conduct if those actions or omissions are not the subject of the chief's noise rules or are not in substantial compliance with the chief's noise rules.

(B) the owner, operator, or user of a shooting range is not subject to criminal prosecution under any section of the Revised Code, or under any ordinance, resolution, or regulation of a political subdivision, that relates to the creation, limitation, or suppression of noise if the conduct of the owner, operator, or user that allegedly violates the section, ordinance, resolution, or regulation substantially complies with the chief's noise rules.

(C) notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, the courts of common pleas, municipal courts, housing divisions of municipal courts, and county courts of this state shall not grant injunctive relief under Chapter 3767. or any other section of the Revised Code, under an ordinance, resolution, or regulation of a political subdivision, or under the common law of this state against the owner or operator of a shooting range in a nuisance action if the court determines that the owner's or operator's actions or omissions that are the subject of a complaint substantially complied with the chief's noise rules or the chief's public safety rules, whichever apply to the nuisance action.

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