Getting The Facts About Backyard Shooting

To the Editor:

In a comment posted in response to Eric Poupon’s recent letter [“Target Shooting Needs To Be About Safety,” Letter Hive, May 21, 2013], the writer urged Newtowners who find living amid backyard target ranges objectionable to “Get your facts straight and or [sic] don't move in next to an active range and then start complaining.”

But how are we to know where these backyard shooting ranges are? Picture it: Contemplating a move, you tour an unfamiliar town trying to keep straight a jumble of mill rates, school system ratings, quality of life data, and other criteria you need before making a major investment. If you come from a locale where backyard shooting isn’t the norm—and yes, such places do exist—posing the question “Is there an active gun range nearby?” may not be on your radar.

During the ordinance review process that kicked off in summer of 2012, a number of speakers have implored the elected and appointed officials tasked with addressing public safety issues to implement a comprehensive, common-sense gun ordinance. One detailed proposal included the provision for an established system so backyard ranges could be inspected and approved. At present it appears that this suggestion has been rejected.

Why not give the public a means to learn which residential neighborhoods are home to sanctioned shooting ranges, so they can “get the facts straight”? If the presence of an active range isn’t a public safety topic—as some would maintain—it certainly appears to be a quality of life issue with the potential to impact property values.

Andrea Ondak

4 White Oak Farm, Newtown ' May 29, 2013

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