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Decades ago when the county population was less than half its current level and subdivision lots were less dense, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors made a legislative finding, while adopting a county code section that prohibits discharging firearms in any county subdivision, that such discharges are inherently dangerous due to people living in close proximity to one another.


 Spotsylvania's Board of Supervisors may allow the firing of guns in subdivisions.
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Date published: 1/6/2013

Decades ago when the county population was less than half its current level and subdivision lots were less dense, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors made a legislative finding, while adopting a county code section that prohibits discharging firearms in any county subdivision, that such discharges are inherently dangerous due to people living in close proximity to one another.

On Tuesday, the board will conduct a public hearing to drastically alter the code to allow firearms discharges in 5-acre lot subdivisions or larger. The proposed amendment contains no safety or noise abatement standards. If the ordinance passes as written, firearms could be discharged 24 hours a day for any duration, without regard for distances from property lines or neighboring houses, schools, churches, day care centers, small-lot subdivisions, etc. The proposed ordinance fails to provide safety standards, and fails to protect the property rights of quiet enjoyment of adjacent landowners.

In two articles ["Spotsy revisits shooting proposal," Dec. 10; "Board mulling firearm change," May 13], board members stated that the proposed ordinance amendment was drafted to allow one person to target shoot on his property, and because there was confusion over whether family splits were subdivisions under the current code. The portion of the proposed amendment rectifies this ambiguity, making the drastic change to the status quo unneeded to meet the purpose put forth in earlier articles by board members.

The proposed amendment is a classic example of bad law-making. I encourage board members to study the impacts of the proposed amendment. Safety and noise abatement standards should be added to the ordinance if the board remains intent upon its adoption. Noise standards are needed because the current county noise ordinance specifically exempts firearms discharges.

Michael O'Keefe

Spotsylvania