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Vermont has some of the most lax gun laws in the nation — four out of ten Vermonters own a firearm. But the state only has 31 firing ranges, which authorities say forces many gun owners to shoot target practice in their backyards.

“Hunters need safe and responsible places to practice shooting if they’re going to be safe and responsible in the woods,” said Chris Saunders of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

His department is trying to increase the number of shooting ranges in the state. They say it’s too dangerous to shoot in a backyard or an open field.

Two years ago, a St. Micheal’s College professor was shot and killed while eating dinner at his house. His neighbors were shooting target practice nearby.

Last month, an elderly Vermont man was shot in the face from hundreds of yards away — target practice, again.

“There is clearly a need, there is a desire out there to learn how to shoot safely,” said Tom Blair of the North Country Sportsman’s Club. His shooting range in Williston is often packed because hunters are seeking a safe place to train.

Source: Randy Gyllenhaal for WPTZ.

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