HOUSE BILL NO. 164
AS AMENDED BY
SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 81 OF TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE PERTAINING TO PERSONAL ACTIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Chapter 81 of Title 10 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new § 8142 to read as follows:
“§ 8142. Limitations on shooting range and hunting operations nuisance suits.
(a) For the purposes of this Section, the terms ‘shooting range’ and ‘hunting operations’ and ‘its appurtenances’ mean an operation including any of the following:
(1) lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use for the shooting of targets for training, education, practice, recreation or competition;
(2) lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a hunting club, hunting preserve, shooting preserve or a Restricted Experimental, Propagating and Shooting Preserve as provided for in Subchapter V of Chapter 5 of Title 7 of this Code;
(3) lands, including the buildings and improvements thereon, which are used or which are intended for use as a kennel, training facility or field trial facility for the breeding, showing, raising and/or training of hunting and sporting dogs; and
(4) clubs, associations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, corporations and other business and social entities whose activities or holdings include the land and uses described in the first three numbered paragraphs of this Subsection (a) of this § 8142.
(b) This Section does not apply to:
(1) shooting ranges or hunting operations which do not conform to federal, state or local health or zoning requirements except as may otherwise be provided elsewhere herein; or
(2) shooting ranges or hunting operations which are conducted in a negligent or unlawful manner.
(c) No shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances shall be or become a nuisance, private or public, by any changed conditions in or about the locality thereof after the same has been in operation for more than one (1) year if the operation or the change did not constitute a nuisance from the date the shooting range or hunting operation began or the date the change in the operation began. Likewise, a shooting range or hunting operation which fully complied with local zoning requirements when operations first began shall not be deemed to be non-compliant based upon zoning requirements which have subsequently changed since the initial commencement of operations.
(d) Subject to the limitations of subsection (c), any and all state laws and ordinances of any unit of local government now in effect or hereafter adopted that would make the operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or its appurtenances a nuisance or providing for abatement thereof as a nuisance in the circumstances set forth in this Section shall be null and void as applied to shooting ranges and hunting operations and their respective appurtenances; however, this Section shall not apply whenever nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of any such shooting range or hunting operation or any of its appurtenances or when there has been a significant and fundamental change in the operation itself.”.
Approved July 19, 2004