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Farragut shooting range reopening after years-long court fight

The shooting range at Farragut State Park in North Idaho will reopen Saturday morning after a prolonged legal fight; the 70-year-old range has been closed since 2006 after neighboring homeowners sued over noise and errant bullets. This morning, 1st District Judge John Mitchell issued a court order permitting Fish & Game to operate the range, though it will allow only 500 shooter visits per year initially. Mitchell scheduled a court hearing for Sept. 30 to consider allowing more use beyond that; S-R reporter Scott Maben has a full report here.

The injunction shutting down the range was ordered until noise and safety improvements could be made; the state spent $260,000 on improvements, but Mitchell ruled some rounds still could fly out of the range. The Idaho Supreme Court overturned his ruling in November, while leaving it to Mitchell to rule on whether it'd be safe to exceed 500 shooter visits per year.

Idaho Supreme Court orders Farragut shooting range reopened, overrules lower court

In a victory for sport shooters, the Idaho Supreme Court today lifted an injunction that has kept the Farragut State Park shooting range closed for almost six years; you can read our full report here from S-R reporter Scott Maben. The decision will permit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to reopen the Farragut range to as many as 500 shooters a year, and possibly more than that if a district court judge determines noise and safety concerns have been addressed.

You can read the court's unanimous decision here, which was written by Justice Jim Jones. It also reversed a district judge's finding that a 2008 law, the Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range Act, was unconstitutional; the law was passed in part to protect the Farragut range from the ongoing lawsuit from neighbors challenging it on safety and nuisance grounds. The state Department of Fish & Game appealed the lower court's ruling; the court sided with the department, and against the neighbors.
  

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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