Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council approved the first reading Monday night of an ordinance to allow residents to use firearms to kill rodents.
The ordinance would allow the use of .410 gauge shotguns with the number six or smaller shot shells or .22 caliber rifles or pistols loaded with "rat" or "scatter" shot cartridges to eliminate "various mammals of the order Rodentia, including but not limited to rats, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats and beaver." The council added raccoons and armadillos to that list prior to a 5 to 1 vote to approve the first reading.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams was opposed.
"I think our population is so dense it's going to be a safety issue," Williams said. "When you're shooting something that low to the ground I feel there's a danger to chilidren as well as adults." Williams said she also fears that "It's going to be open season, shooting anything and everything."
The ordinance requires that anyone wishing to use a firearm to eliminate rodents get a firearm discharge permit from the Covington Police Department, and only be allowed to shoot squirrels during hunting season defined by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Applicants for the license must have proof that they have a valid hunting license. Firearms can only be discharged on property owned by the person with the permit or other private property only with permission of the property owner.
The council is expected to have a final reading at its July 2 meeting.