ELLSWORTH — A request by a resident for a variance to permit goal apply on a personal capturing vary was denied by metropolis councilors on Aug. 16. The vote was 5-2, with councilors Michelle Kaplan and Gene Lyons within the minority.
The Discharge of Firearms Ordinance was placed on the town ordinance books in 1969 and makes it “illegal to shoot or discharge any firearm inside a distance of 300 yards of any dwelling home inside the city limits of the town of Ellsworth besides by proprietor or resident or individuals licensed by proprietor or resident.”
So whereas property house owners could shoot on their very own property, it should be executed 300 yards from all neighbors.
John Linnehan, who constructed a capturing vary on his Shore Street property, gave a number of explanation why he thought councilors ought to grant a variance. Because the property was used for goal apply and was bought previous to 1969, Linnehan thought a variance might be “grandfathered,” primarily based on when the ordinance was authorized.
Metropolis Supervisor Glenn Moshier stated that after checking with the town lawyer, as soon as an ordinance is handed, “it’s the letter of the legislation from that day ahead,” so amending the ordinance could be the one means ahead.
“Whether or not that’s warranted underneath these explicit circumstances or as a result of the ordinance was written in 1969, I don’t know, however that’s the method we’d need to undergo,” Moshier stated.
Linnehan additionally pointed to the state legislation, which solely requires 300 toes, not 300 yards, distance, questioning whether or not the 1969 native ordinance was written in error and 300 toes was the town’s authentic intent.
Councilor John Phillips questioned the proximity of colleges and homes.
“Inside 150 toes of your [property] line, to the correct are in all probability 40 or 50 homes. You’ve received a college that’s in all probability lower than 300 yards away and one other college 400 yards away,” he stated. “You’re surrounded by folks.”
“I perceive your want to shoot, however I feel it’s a poorly conceived spot and there’s no respectable neighborly means to try this with out disturbing numerous different folks,” Phillips continued. “I simply don’t see the logic in making an attempt to disrupt the entire neighborhood in your satisfaction of firing your gun in your property.”
Lastly, Linnehan raised the U.S. Structure.
“The Structure of the US ensures us this proper [to shoot] in what’s generally generally known as the Second Modification,” Linnehan stated. “It says as a well-regulated militia being essential to the safety of the free state, the correct of the folks to maintain and bear arms shouldn’t be infringed.” He outlined “well-regulated” as “well-practiced and proficient.”
“To me, I would like to have the ability to defend my household by my constitutional rights, and I wish to be proficient and well-practiced to have the ability to do this,” he concluded.
Linnehan stated a variance was the best technique to fill his request, however that he would discover different avenues, equivalent to amending the ordinance. Council Chairman Dale Hamilton stated he was open to discussing potential modifications to the ordinance.
“For me, it’s not a matter of gun rights, and possession, it’s a security challenge,” Hamilton stated. “What are the security parameters in palace? Is 300 yards the correct distance? Is 300 toes? If there must be a change, if there’s momentum for that form of request, I would definitely help a dialogue sooner or later about altering the ordinance.”