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
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
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
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.
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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