To the editor:
I want to thank Tori for writing the recent article West Nantmeal Gun Enthusiast Speaks Out on Noise Issue, and with all due respect to her, I would like to clarify two points. I do not necessarily think that guns should be card blanche exempt from the noise ordinance. I believe the township supervisors are addressing this issue with detailed scrutiny and I am confident that they will revise the noise ordinance in accordance with state law and with all the residents concerns in mind. Only if there is no reasonable solution that would allow recreational gun noise should it be considered for exemption from the ordinance. The West Nantmeal township board of supervisors has always shown great concern and respect for the community, not only because of their integrity, but because this is their home also. Most board members are long standing residents of this very township and have served us faithfully for many years and I would like to extend my thanks to both them and the many concerned citizens that came out to various meetings over the past 6-8 months to support them on this issue of gun noise.
We live in a rural setting with farms and rolling hills. This is not a suburb or a city setting. Many people own guns for recreation and protection as is deemed our right by the founding fathers of this nation. Likewise, many of us choose the open spaces of the country because we enjoy the freedoms of personal land ownership; freedoms that our brave military personnel and federal government work to defend. This local township is no different, and is charged with the protection of our rights as citizens and they have always done a great job.
Many of us in the neighborhood are offended and take issue with the recent tactics of a disgruntle neighbor to incorrectly portray a personal issue as a community wide problem that the residents need to act upon, or become victims of a tyrannical governmental system. It is unfortunate that exaggerate facts, scare tactics and demonizing gun owners were all used to garner support from unsuspecting neighbors, by painting a picture that the residents need to rise up and stand against the injustices that our township may be unleashing. As a result, many residents signed misleading petitions without understanding the correct facts.
The second clarification is that neighbors should be notified in the event that friends are invited over for ‘an outing’. I believe it is our obligation as neighbors to be considerate of each other. However, it is impossible and unreasonable to notify every neighbor when you are having company that might offend him or her. We are not our neighbor and likewise. We have different interests and tolerances. It can get very petty if an individual has little tolerance for the likes and differences of those around him. After all, diversity is what makes this country great.
Living in the country comes with the assumption that farmers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts comprise the majority of our neighbors here. That means: manure smells in the planting season, recreational vehicles that ride the perimeter of the fields in order to avoid ruining crops (not to annoy their neighbors), bird watchers, bike riders, pedestrians walking or running on back roads (with consideration to the cars please), lawn mowers, weed eaters and various tools that keep our homes well groomed, children laughing and screaming while they play, music playing, dogs barking, fire crackers, and the sound of gunfire.
If you own guns and many of our residents do, rightfully so, (our police presence comes from Emeryville many miles away) then it is beholden to you to be proficient in the use of them or you will be a danger to everyone around you. I encourage you to set up a safe target on your property (the township can give you guidelines for this) and practice until you are proficient at shooting accurately and safely. In the event that you need to use your skills, for example, for a rabid animal that wanders onto your property, you can discharge your gun in a safe and efficient manner. Be grateful to your neighbors when you hear target practice knowing that they are being responsible by becoming or maintaining their proficiency.
We all need to become the kind of neighbors that we would like to have, the kind that will be there for each other in times of need, not just individuals living side by side, but, a real community.