Watering Down The Shooting Range Ordinance

To the Editor:

The Ordinance Committee is wrapping up a series of meetings on an updated firearms ordinance with extensive input from the public. Those who want little or no restrictions on  target shooting have been well represented, as have been residents wanting greater restrictions in the interest of safety and quality of life for their neighborhoods. As the committee nears the end of this process, the outline of the final changes are becoming clear. While provisions that will help lessen some negative effects of target shooting on neighbors are likely (banning exploding targets, limiting shooting to four hours during daylight hours and requiring advance notification of police about shooting sessions), other proposals have been watered down or rejected.

A proposed  limitation on the rate of firing has not been included, despite the fact that the sounds of rapid fire shooting have become more common in recent years along with the increasing popularity of AR 15s or “modern sporting rifles.” The detrimental effect of the sounds of such shooting on people, especially children, who are experiencing PTSD, should not be underestimated — or dismissed with a stress pill.

The committee also rejected a well-researched proposal by Parents for a Safer Newtown to allow sites where target shooting occurs to be reviewed by the police department and permitted as safe given the types of firearms used. I believe Weston recently considered such a permitting process in their ordinance, and ended up rejecting it for reasons of town liability — finally opting for a ban on outdoor target shooting. While I do not support a ban on target shooting, I believe it would be preferable to an ordinance that is too weak to proactively ensure the safety and peace of mind of neighbors.


Barbara Richardson

31 Osborne Hill Road, Sandy Hook                         May 22, 2013

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