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Vermont firearms training center owner says he won't comply with order to shut down

A Vermont firearms training center owner says he does not plan to comply with a court order to take down parts of the facility that were built without obtaining the proper permits.

A Vermont Environmental Court order issued in March demanded that Daniel Banyai end training activities on the center’s property, have the structures surveyed and remove any parts of the center that were developed without permits, according to The Associated Press

However, Banyai said during a weekend event at the center, Slate Ridge Vermont, that he is looking for “the proper constitutional attorney” to appeal the order. 

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“We are not going to do that,” Banyai said when asked about the order, which he has until May 5 to appeal. 

“We have not done anything wrong, we haven’t done anything illegal,” he argued. 

Banyai said the facility, which also offers lessons in first aid and “anything to do with the outdoors and firearms,” was a safe and environmentally friendly place for local residents to shoot their weapons, the AP reported.

However, some community members have complained about the gunfire, and have also alleged that they have received threats from Banyai and his supporters. 

The town of Pawlet, about 50 miles northeast of Albany, N.Y., and home to about 1,300 people, requested that a judge hold Banyai in contempt for failing to comply with the court order by holding the event last weekend, called a 2nd Amendment Picnic.

The AP noted that several attendees shot handguns, as well as AR-15 rifles on a firing range. 

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The outlet reported that Banyai was fined $46,000 for failing to comply with the order for his 30-acre property, which the news agency noted is only allowed to have a garage with an apartment. 

However, since opening the training facility in 2017, Banyai added a 500-square-foot structure and several outdoor shooting ranges. 

Banyai said he had chosen Vermont as the site for his training center because of the state’s relaxed gun laws, which allow open and concealed carry for all adults 18 years and older. 

According to Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin, Banyai had made an estimated $1.6 million in changes to the property since he initially purchased it in 2013. 

Banyai told the AP that he did not believe last weekend’s event violated the court order, adding, “If the town of Pawlet believes that having a picnic on your land, consuming food with friends and family and shooting guns is illegal, we’ll just have to put it into the hands of the court.”