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I'm Gonna Have a Law Named After Me

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Perhaps.

Tomorrow I'm going to my borough's council meeting. Apparently my shooting has led to complaints in the neighborhood, and they might discuss creating a boro ordnance prohibiting shooting within boro limits. Now, I live in a pretty rural area (plenty of farms around, we have more cows in the area the school district encompasses than kids enrolled, no joke) and numerous people hunt/fish/trap etc. It is quite normal to hear gunshots. In my defense, I shoot in my backyard, against a solid backstop (tree trunks, stacked, overlapped so there are no cracks in between), and my neighbors are empty 1 acre lot (right), fields (back), and 250 acre woods (left). My nearest neighbor is the one across the street, and this is a dead end, mine being the last house in the street. I never shoot early in the morning, or late at night.

I did however shoot quite a bit for a couple of weeks late this Summer: I got my Ruger Mark IV Lite and shot it quite often for a while, maybe 100 rounds or so each outing, just plinking in the backyard. Maybe that's what pissed people off?

My approach to council will be: I'm sorry some people are upset, and I had no intention of disturbing the peace. No one approached me to complain, or expressed their displeasure with the noise. Had they done so, I would've sought a compromise or accommodation. As it is, I don't want to upset my fellow neighbors, and I'm willing to restrict my shooting activities to certain days of the week, and times of the day, if that helps. Just give us - shooters - some guidelines. However, if the boro decides to create an ordnance outright prohibiting shooting within its limits, I'm sorry to inform that all I have to do is ask my neighbor (field owner to my back) permission to shoot a few yards into his land (we've already talked about it and he's cool with it) and now I'm still shooting at whatever time I want, and the boro will not have solved anything with this new ordnance other than pissing other shooters off, who don't have the privilege of living where I do.

Needless to say, this area is very conservative, and gun-friendly. Plenty of shooters around here, and NRA members...

What do you guys say: any changes to my approach?

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Something just does not quite add up here. You say you are in a gun friendly area, and boro and many shooters and so forth, what precisely did you do to cause this upset? How early or late were you shooting? You were really only shooting a .22LR handgun?

I think your compromises are wise and I would NOT suggest you seek any permission to shoot into anyone else's property and you better be able to show a very well developed berm and backstop. People are ignorant about firearms are knee-jerk reactionaries.

I would restrict your shooting from, say, 9:00 a.m to sunset throughout the year. In other words, when that sunset minute hits, you STOP shooting. Period.



 

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We've got a "rod and gun" club, a half mile away, that has been there since the '40s.

The next town over is growing very fast and the suburbs are coming this way.   Many, many, many, a lot, of people buy lots here, build a mini-mansion and pretty much immediately start complaining about the firing range.

I see our local council members, cops and judges at our local bar all the time. The Mayor always buys a round for the bar.  Most of them are members of the club. 

Their standard reply to the complaining  people is, "Then why'd you move down the road from a shooting range?"

(They've got the same reply for the ones that complain about the farms and cows being too smelly/dirty/dusty/disruptive.)

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13 minutes ago, JJHNSN said:

Something just does not quite add up here. You say you are in a gun friendly area, and boro and many shooters and so forth, what precisely did you do to cause this upset? How early or late were you shooting? You were really only shooting a .22LR handgun?

I think your compromises are wise and I would NOT suggest you seek any permission to shoot into anyone else's property and you better be able to show a very well developed berm and backstop. People are ignorant about firearms are knee-jerk reactionaries.

I would restrict your shooting from, say, 9:00 a.m to sunset throughout the year. In other words, when that sunset minute hits, you STOP shooting. Period.



 

I'm inclined to agree with this, although nothing would surprise me as it comes to the way people behave.  

Are you sure the neighbors are pissed about the shooting?  Have there been any other issues, such as parking, or grounds maintenance?  Are there any neighbors that work third shift and are trying to sleep?  

It's good that you're willing to compromise, but don't give up too much too soon.  It would be nice if you could find out who is doing the complaining.  Maybe you could work something out without having to go through anything formal.

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We are not trying to bust your chops, brother, but just want to make sure we have the whole picture here...I'm just finding a very hard time thinking that neighbors are pissed about shooting a .22LR.

If, for instance, you are out there blasting away with a .308 rifle...or 12 guage...I could see how this is getting people's attention, particularly if it is a nice quite community to begin with.

Honestly, I would not want to live where I'd had to listen to my neighbor next door blasting away with high power weapons or 12 gauges, etc.

 

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20 minutes ago, JJHNSN said:

Something just does not quite add up here. You say you are in a gun friendly area, and boro and many shooters and so forth, what precisely did you do to cause this upset? How early or late were you shooting? You were really only shooting a .22LR handgun?

I think your compromises are wise and I would NOT suggest you seek any permission to shoot into anyone else's property and you better be able to show a very well developed berm and backstop. People are ignorant about firearms are knee-jerk reactionaries.

I would restrict your shooting from, say, 9:00 a.m to sunset throughout the year. In other words, when that sunset minute hits, you STOP shooting. Period.

I guess I just shot too often after buying the new gun? My son and I would shoot in the afternoon, around 3,4 or 5pm. Never into sunset.

I would not even shoot at 9am, thinking there's people still sleeping in a Sat morning.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Huaco Kid said:

We've got a "rod and gun" club, a half mile away, that has been there since the '40s.

The next town over is growing very fast and the suburbs are coming this way.   Many, many, many, a lot, of people buy lots here, build a mini-mansion and pretty much immediately start complaining about the firing range.

I see our local council members, cops and judges at our local bar all the time. The Mayor always buys a round for the bar.  Most of them are members of the club. 

Their standard reply to the complaining  people is, "Then why'd you move down the road from a shooting range?"

(They've got the same reply for the ones that complain about the farms and cows being too smelly/dirty/dusty/disruptive.)


The gun club I belong to is in an area where anyone moving into any of the adjoining subdivisions are required to sign waivers when they buy a house acknowledging that they understand they may hear shooting every day of the year from 8:30-sunset. Every once in a while a new resident attempts to whine, complain or file a lawsuit, but they always fail.

Recently our gun club was accused of putting a round into a water tower nearby, but the ballistic study proved the shot did not come from the club.

 

And so it goes...

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2 minutes ago, jame said:

I'm inclined to agree with this, although nothing would surprise me as it comes to the way people behave.  

Are you sure the neighbors are pissed about the shooting?  Have there been any other issues, such as parking, or grounds maintenance?  Are there any neighbors that work third shift and are trying to sleep?  

It's good that you're willing to compromise, but don't give up too much too soon.  It would be nice if you could find out who is doing the complaining.  Maybe you could work something out without having to go through anything formal.

No other issues I'm aware of. Not sure if people work night shift either. I try to put myself in their shoes, and be considerate and a good neighbor. At the same time, I also would like to preserve the right to do as I please in my property, in a safe and responsible manner. I get you on the "giving up too much too soon".

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1 minute ago, JJHNSN said:


The gun club I belong to is in an area where anyone moving into any of the adjoining subdivisions are required to sign waivers when they buy a house acknowledging that they understand they may hear shooting every day of the year from 8:30-sunset. Every once in a while a new resident attempts to whine, complain or file a lawsuit, but they always fail.

Recently our gun club was accused of putting a round into a water tower nearby, but the ballistic study proved the shot did not come from the club.

 

And so it goes...

The funny thing is that we also have a Gun & Rod club within the boro limits, and they have turkey shoots quite frequently.

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Well, good luck to you, keep us posted. Something just doesn't quite add up here. Where are you exactly?

Edited by JJHNSN

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23 minutes ago, JJHNSN said:

Well, good luck to you, keep us posted. Something just doesn't quite add up here. Where are you exactly?

Western PA. All it takes is one person to complain: isn't it how it usually goes elsewhere in the world? A vocal minority ruins it for the silent majority.

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17 minutes ago, geeorge said:

If it succeeds rent your house out to a biker club

We had a farmer around here that had a gully/ditch on the farm that his family had owned for generations.  He remembers shooting there with his grandfather, he shoot there, his family shoots there and he let friends shoot there.

As the town grew, he started getting too many requests from strangers to shoot there.  He decided to fence the whole area and charge people to use it.  Some of the more recent neighbors sued him because they didn't want a shooting range there, even though it had been there forever.

 They ruled he couldn't have a business there because he was only zoned for farming. The news was interviewing him after his loss in court. He said, "Well, I invested a lot of money in that fence, so I have to work it, and since their rules say I'm farming only, I bought some pigs."

The reporter asked how many pigs he got.  He replied, "Enough.", and walked away from the camera.

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4 hours ago, Huaco Kid said:

We had a farmer around here that had a gully/ditch on the farm that his family had owned for generations.  He remembers shooting there with his grandfather, he shoot there, his family shoots there and he let friends shoot there.

As the town grew, he started getting too many requests from strangers to shoot there.  He decided to fence the whole area and charge people to use it.  Some of the more recent neighbors sued him because they didn't want a shooting range there, even though it had been there forever.

 They ruled he couldn't have a business there because he was only zoned for farming. The news was interviewing him after his loss in court. He said, "Well, I invested a lot of money in that fence, so I have to work it, and since their rules say I'm farming only, I bought some pigs."

The reporter asked how many pigs he got.  He replied, "Enough.", and walked away from the camera.

So a gun range or a bacon factory, couldn't we just have both?O.o

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Well, just got back from the meeting.

Here's my statement to the council (name redacted):

 

 

Quote

 

Dear Council Members, and fellow neighbors,

My name is [redacted], and I’m a resident of the borough. [redacted]

My family and I are here today because we were approached by one of the boro’s police officers, who informed us a complaint had been made to the council about my son and I’s shooting in our backyard, and because of said complaint the council would discuss possibly creating an ordinance prohibiting shooting within boro limits.

I would like to clarify to the council that safe handling and discharge of firearms is my absolute priority anytime we engage in this activity. My shooting targets are always before a solid backstop, and never towards a building or known travel areas where people or cars may traverse. My shooting is done in a controlled manner as well, and only during daylight hours. Out of respect for my neighbors, I also do not start shooting until late morning at the earliest, and always stop well before sunset, and never for extended periods of time.

We are blessed to live in a rural area, where hunting and all kinds of outdoors activities take place. Like myself, numerous residents exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms, whether for their personal protection or to practice the wildgame hunting sport. We even have a gun & rod club within boro limits! While I'm a relatively new resident, firearms and shooting seem to be a significant part of the fabric of the local community, and I hope it stays that way.

I am more than willing to listen to my fellow neighbors if my shooting is causing them an inconvenience, and if there’s a certain time of the day, or day in the week that they would like me NOT to shoot, I would be more than willing to accommodate them within reason. I want to do all I can to live amicably among my fellow neighbors, while at the same time continuing to enjoy the shooting sport with my children.

I hope the council will take into consideration my plea, and resist creating an ordinance that would hinder not only I, but many other sportsmen that live within the boro,

Respectfully,

[redacted]

 

There was one council member that thought it was unsafe to discharge a firearm within city limits (despite everything I said). He said "would you have anything against going to the Gun & Rod Club to shoot?" to which I responded "You'd be requiring many people to PAY to do something they can safely do in their properties. While I understand your concern, I disagree with your premise." He didn't want to hear any of it, keeping on mumbling "I still think it's unsafe."

Looks like it's going to be an uphill battle... *sigh*

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If you are talking 1 acre lots I think it is too congested to shoot.  If you were to accidentally shoot over the backstop would it hit anything?  What about to the sides?  I only shoot where I have about 90 degrees of wide open that I could not hit anything or a pit it would be really hard to shoot out of.

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