The Athens City Council Monday approved a final reading of a much discussed ordinance regarding the discharge of firearms and other guns in the city limits.

The vote was 4 to 1 with Councilwoman Sytonia Freeman opposed.

Athens Director of Development Services Audrey Sloan said the change toughens the regulation to make such shooting not only illegal on pubic property, but private property as well.

"The proposed amendments that are being considered, the first would be to add testing and training to the list of prohibited activities regarding the discharge of firearms," Sloan said. "Also, there's a proposal to replace repetitive shooting with recreational shooting."

Updating the ordinance had been discussed in a city workshop in March, then was brought before the council for a first reading in July. A second reading at the Oct. 25 meeting resulted in the item being tabled.

Theamendment approved Monday adds an exception that would allow the discharge of firearms for hunting and sighting on a contiguous tract of undeveloped land larger than 20 acres, as long as no projectile from the firearmcrossed onto another property when discharged.

Other exceptions include discharge of a firearm by a licensed peace officer, by a person exercising any right permitted by state or federal law or at an approved shooting range.

Other items approved included:

final reading of the City Code of Ordinances to establish criteria for the expiration of specific use permits;

final reading of an ordinance amending the code to revise criteria used to determine undue hardships for variance requests;

approval of a resolution authorizing the temporary road closure of portions of East College Street for a special event hosted by First Baptist Church on Dec. 5 and

allocation of Tourism Development Grant funds.

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