Implications that gun noise petition was “misleading” are untrue

To the editor:

In response to Tina Grant’s letter in the July 30 Tri County Record, I want to say that I agree with her sentiment that we all need to live like neighbors, not just individuals living side by side. Of course, this means being tolerant and considerate of your neighbors, and their differences.

I would like to make two clarifications regarding issues discussed in her letter to the editor:

First, the implication that I turned this into a neighborhood issue is not true. This was an issue between 17 of our neighbors, and one resident who was shooting excessively in a densely developed residential area, until Ms. Grant’s husband and approximately 30 other residents showed up at the May 2013 township supervisors meeting. During this meeting, this group of people expressed concern at the enforcement of the township noise ordinance for complaints regarding gunfire. There was also an attempt at this meeting to turn a dispute between neighbors into a Second Amendment issue (as if someone was trying to take our guns away). This is when the township became convinced it should consider excluding gunfire from the noise ordinance, and it became a township-wide issue. Thankfully, the residents overwhelmingly responded with their support stating that they did not want the one protection against excessive shooting that we have in the township taken away.

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As a side note, the repeated references by Ms. Grant to the use of state laws and hunter safety training as a means of regulating target shooting in the community is uninformed at best. There are no state or federal laws that regulate private shooting ranges, and hunter safety training is only required to obtain a hunting license in this state. The Safety Zone requirement prohibiting discharge of a firearm within 450 feet of an occupied building does not apply to target shooting. This is why the township is now considering implementing a buffer zone for target shooting, similar to the Safety Zone used for hunting. This is a wise approach for shooting activities in an area like ours, where some property owners have enough land to shoot without exposing their neighbors to excessively loud noise, but many do not.

Secondly, for the record, the “misleading petition” that Ms. Grant referred to that was circulated in response to the decisions made at the May township meeting, read (in its entirety) as follows:

I am against the exclusion of gunfire-related noise from the current Noise Ordinance (Ordinance No. 97) and request that the West Nantmeal Board of Supervisors retain the current restrictions on gunfire-related noise in the Noise Ordinance.

This is what 110 of our neighbors signed. I’m curious as to what part of this statement is misleading. The misinformation spread by some of those who perceived the enforcement of the township noise ordinance as some sort of threat to their rights, was the most disturbing part of this entire dispute. I guess it is like in politics these days – if you repeat something enough, a certain segment of society will believe it, regardless of whether it is true.

If we want to get back to being neighbors, let’s stop arguing about water under the bridge and be thankful that the issue has been resolved with consideration to both sides of the issue.

Tom Marks, Elverson