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TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE Document: On How to Submit State Metal Detecting Legislation


Metal Detecting is becoming a recognized recreational hobby and has also contributed to learning more about our past though some very important finds. Today, there are more and more battlefield projects in the U.S. that use volunteer metal detectorist. Metal Detectorist with their expertise can be a great help in locating battlefield artifacts.

England passed a Treasure Act in 1996. Since its enactment this act has provided the legal environment for many great historical and valuable metal detecting finds. Evidence of these finds are published almost on a daily bases.

It is time in the U.S. that state metal detecting laws come under review. Some states prohibit metal detecting completely, other states set rigid limitation and a few states have no regulation or law at all just internal DNR memorandum.

So with these thoughts in mind, the following document was written. The focus is on what you need to know and what to consider if you are about to seek change or create new recreational metal detecting state law.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Terry Wright, Metal Detecting Association of Washington http://www.metaldetectwa.org for taking the time to share his knowledge about working with state legislators. Terry has been involved with state officials since 1986 concerning metal detecting law. He and a team of metal detectorist from many Washington State Metal Detecting Clubs were instrumental in getting an Act passed in 1996 which is the foundation for today’s metal detecting law in Washington State.

Purpose of This Paper

The overall objective of this document is to provide an informative framework that can be used to create, change and submit state legislation for recreational metal detecting. The sole intent is to provide aid and prepare a state metal detecting association or committee as they approach the task of getting metal detecting legislation passed.

All states have direct or indirect laws, regulations, or internal memorandum that may forbid or restrict recreational metal detecting on public lands. The goal of many of these laws is not only to limit metal detecting, but to make recreational metal detecting outright unlawful on state lands, seashores and beaches.

In this document will find one example and up to seven different legislative options that could be used to create metal detecting state legislation. The document will highlight the federal and state barriers to any metal detecting legislation, list the opposed interested parties, plus provide seven appendices with reference and support materials. Finally, this document should provide a workable blueprint on how to move forward with any metal detecting legislative initiative.

Note: This main body of the article is about 26 pages long with the remaining part of the document consisting of seven appendixes' that take up another 100 pages of support material.

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