The residents of West Nantmeal Township who own guns as a hobby like to shoot at targets, and West Nantmeal resident Tina Grant says everyone has to be considerate of each other’s hobbies.
Grant said she believes that shooting should be exempt from the township’s noise ordinance. As long as neighbors contact each other as a courtesy before having a few friends over for an outing, they should be allowed to shoot on their own property without fear of violating local laws.
The original ordinance respecting noise was made for noise associated with dirt bikes. Prior to this dispute, noise from guns had not been an issue. The nuisance ordinance sets a 20 decibel limit on noise.
Grant’s property is located along Bollinger Road, across the street from Tom Marks, who brought the issue of gun noise to the board of supervisors’ attention. The dispute arose when Marks and several neighbors began to complain about the noise of neighbor Nick Fantanarosa shooting his guns at targets on his property. They said the noise had become more frequent lately and claimed it violated the township’s noise ordinance.
About six months ago Tom Marks took a petition around the neighborhood, Grant said, and she believes some things it said about Fantanarosa were biased and incorrect. She thinks the petition was opinionated and vilified Nick, she added.
The dispute between Marks and Fantanarosa was resolved last week with a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the two, according to Supervisor Dave Mast. But now the board of supervisors has decided to take a look at the noise ordinance and see what should be changed.
This has always been a rural community and people use guns, Grant said, and she doesn’t believe the present ordinance is viable, adding that the 20 decibel limit would outlaw all shooting.
Gun users already have to abide by rules and regulations issued by the state, she said, and hunter safety courses are taught.
The feelings of Joseph DeGaray, a retired federal agent from homeland security and a disabled veteran, are that the stipulations of the noise ordinance need to be fair and reasonable.
“If a man owns a gun he has to be proficient,” he said. “The only way to be proficient is to practice with it. If you own a gun you should be able to practice to shoot it.”