Delafield gun club appealing court's decision
Asks state Supreme Court to review city's revocation of permit

By Kelly Smith - Special to The Freeman

Oct. 1, 2017

 The drive into the Hartland Sportsmens Club in Delafield has been barricaded since 2010 when the city revoked the permit for the gun club after a bullet from one of its firing ranges grazed a pregnant women dinning at a nearby pub. A recent court decision may allow club members to seek a new permit from the city.
Kelly Smith/Special to the Enterprise

DELAFIELD - The Hartland Sportsmens Club apparently is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the Second District Court of Appeals that the city had the authority to revoke the gun club's conditional use permit in 2010.

The city revoked the permit after finding evidence the club was violating safety standards following the accidental shooting of a woman at a nearby pub.

 She was grazed by a bullet that escaped from one of the club's five firing ranges on a 35-acre complex on the southeast corner of the city.

City officials were notified late Thursday afternoon by lawyers representing the city's insurance company that the gun club had filed a petition for a Supreme Court review, according to City Administrator Tom Hafner.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, like the U.S. Supreme Court, does not consider all appeals and decides which cases to hear based on the potential legal significance of the high court's review of a decision, according to City Attorney James Hammes.

Hammes will meet with the Common Council in a closed session on Monday night.

Mayor Michele DeYoe said she anticipates the council will be briefed by both Hammes and insurance company lawyers about potential strategy and legal issues, if the high court decides to review the case.

The mayor also anticipates the lawyers will discuss whether the city should begin a review of the pending application by the gun club for a new permit.

After the city revoked the permit in 2010, the gun club sought a new permit in 2013, arguing that it was willing to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on improvements and new safety precautions at the club, located at W. 302-N. 963 Maple Avenue, about a mile south of Interstate 94.

After the city rejected the gun club's new application, the club filed a series of legal actions against Delafield in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

The appeals court upheld the lower court's decision that the city acted arbitrarily in denying the permit application in 2013 and ordered Delafield to reconsider the gun club's permit application.

City officials were preparing to reconsider the application until they learned of the gun club's petition to the state Supreme Court, according to DeYoe.

The club is apparently appealing the decision by the Court of Appeals that the city had authority to revoke the permit in 2010.

In that decision, the appeals court rejected arguments by the gun club that a state law - The Range Protection Act - prohibits local governments from shutting down firing ranges based on local ordinance violations.

The court ruled the state law "does not exempt a sport shooting range from all statutes, ordinances, or resolutions, but only those related to discharge of firearms and noise."

Lawyers for the gun club did not respond to telephone messages by The Freeman.