Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Illegal shooting in Wonder Valley

There was non-stop shooting in some areas of Wonder Valley over the Veterans Day weekend, starting at daybreak and continuing until dark. The shooting included pistols and high-powered assault weapons. Only shotguns are legal in Wonder Valley including on BLM land. There were 10 calls to the Sheriff's Department over the three day holiday, with deputies responding. No citations were issued.

I, Teresa Sitz, asked Lt. Barta of the Sheriff's Department, about the calls at last Monday's MAC meeting, and read the public comment of an elderly disabled resident who could not attend the meeting. Tom Zeigart of Yucca Mesa also commented on the issue.

On Tuesday, three residents including myself, attended the Board of Supervisors meeting and gave public comment. My comment is listed below.

Lt. Barta pulled me out of the meeting to discuss the issue. He was in receipt of photographs taken of the shooters and he gave me his contact information so that we could continue to work on the issue.


Good morning. My name is Teresa Sitz and I have served as the MAC Delegate for Wonder Valley for the last three years. I want to thank the Board of Supervisors for making the Bob Burke Government Center available for us for public comment. I also appreciate the attention and support that the Board has given Wonder Valley in the past.

I am here today to address a serious ongoing issue in Wonder Valley - the illegal shooting of firearms, especially high-powered pistols and rifles. This issue has come up many times in local community meetings, and we have attempted to address it by working with the Sheriff’s Department, the Base, the BLM, and the MAC.

The main obstacle to solving this problem has to do with jurisdiction. Though the County forbids shooting anything other than shotguns in Wonder Valley, many residents and visitors feel that if they step onto BLM land within the checker board of Wonder Valley that they can shoot anything they want, any time they want. Confusion about jurisdiction makes enforcement difficult.

The BLM has told me that County rules regarding shooting apply on BLM land within the boundaries of Wonder Valley, but they have issued no official statement that can be used to clarify the law to the Community, to the Sheriff's Department, and to visitors. And so the shooting of pistols and high-powered rifles continues, with both residences and roads within the trajectory of high-powered rounds. It is only a matter of time before somebody is accidentally wounded or killed.

In addition, the boundaries of the County shooting map for Wonder Valley do not align with the boundaries of Wonder Valley, and so, within some residential neighborhoods open shooting is allowed any time, day or night with any kind of weapon, including assault weapons. We request that Land Use revise the shooting maps to conform to the boundaries of our neighborhoods.

Another problem is that when the Sheriff’s Department is called to the site of shooting, the shooters stow their illegal weapons and tell the Sheriff’s Department that they were only shooting shotguns. It may not be possible to enforce current laws against long-range pistols and rifles in our neighborhoods without making shotguns illegal, as well. I believe it is time to consider this as a solution to ending illegal shooting in Wonder Valley.

My neighbors complain to me that many Sheriff’s deputies do not know the law regarding illegal shooting and are therefore unwilling to enforce it. At this time, especially during the holidays, our neighborhoods are under siege, with high velocity weapons being fired within range of our homes from dawn until dusk. Without the Sheriff's Department to enforce the law we have no one to turn to for help.

I ask the Board of Supervisors to work with our community to keep us all safe from illegal shooting in our neighborhoods.

Thank you for your time.
The County Firearms Ordinance may be found at the link below:

The BLM: Target Shooting on America's Lands
Public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are available for a variety of undeveloped recreational activities, including target shooting except where prohibited by federal, state, and local laws.