Shooting range owner appeals arrest warrant to Vermont Supreme Court

 July 28, 2023

The owner of an unlicensed paramilitary training camp is appealing his arrest warrant to the Vermont Supreme Court. 

According to WCAX, Daniel Banyai is subject to an arrest warrant issued this month by an Environmental Court judge after he refused to remove an unlicensed shooting range on his Slate Ridge property.

Range owner agreed to demolish range to avoid jail time

As of Wednesday, Banyai owed fines totaling over $100,000, a figure which is growing by $200 per day until he complies with the judge's order.

The website AmmoLand reported that earlier this month that Banyai had agreed to demolish the range in order to avoid jail time.

Robert K. Kaplan serves as Banyai's attorney, and he provided a statement to AmmoLand regarding the deal his client had entered into.

Shooting range owner cited need to care for his livestock when taking deal

"Daniel Banyai has made the difficult decision to comply with the Environmental Court’s contempt order out of necessity because he has livestock on his organic farm that must be tended to," Kaplan's statement read.

"Daniel could not make suitable arrangements for these animals to be cared for while he sits in jail for an indeterminate period," the attorney continued.

"Ultimately, Daniel was forced to put his responsibility to the animals ahead of the principles he has fought so hard for despite his willingness to lose his liberty in service to his cause," Kaplan explained.

"At the end of the day, Daniel was unwilling to allow innocent animals to become casualties of his conflict with the Town of Pawlet," he concluded.

Vermont passes law banning paramilitary training facilities

WCAX noted this past February that the case against Banyai came as Vermont lawmakers have sought to shutdown paramilitary training facilities.

"Slate Ridge was a test case and we failed," the station quoted state Democratic Sen. Phil Baruth as saying. "There was no lever for the administration to shut them down."

The Associated Press reported in May that Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill which bans teaching how to use firearms or explosives for use in or furtherance of civil disorder. Violators face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $50,000.

The news service pointed to similar bills regarding paramilitary training facilities that have been proposed in Oregon and New Mexico.

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