The threat of “sweeping restrictions” being proposed to restrict target shooting on private property brought locals crowding into the Board of Supervisors’ normally quiet meeting in Springfield Township, Pa., Sept. 24. Several measures were formally proposed in the meeting, and rumors had suggested even more would be. Most of the proposed items were rejected, but one banning target shooting at night passed.
Cal Huntzinger, a local who attended the Board of Supervisors meeting, told America’s 1st Freedom that word of the possible restrictions “got everyone’s dander up.”
“We found out about it and we showed up in a heartbeat. I took four of my friends—we rode down in my pickup truck. When I called them, it took about three seconds for them to be like ‘Yeah, we'll be there!’"
He said the Board of Supervisors was trying to address complaints mostly from new residents in the area who “get a little perturbed when people are banging away at night,” but longtime residents weren’t having it.
“Some people move here from Manhattan and places like that, to restore a farmhouse and such. But it's rural here, with a tradition of hunting, fishing, NRA—you name it. … The people complaining maybe shouldn’t have moved here because it’s like that.”
Springfield Township is in rural Bucks County, about an hour north of Philadelphia. It has a population of roughly 5,000 people and spans about 31 miles.
Township Manager Michael Brown told America’s 1st Freedom in a phone call that “a bunch of people thought [the restrictions were] about the Second Amendment, but [they were] not.” (He tried to retract this comment, noting it was his opinion, not an official stance.) He said the discussion was more about the distinction of shooting ranges as either primary or secondary uses of land and provided an example of a private landowner inviting 50 people to shoot all weekend: “At what point does it go beyond accessory use to become a primary use as a range?” he said.
That question apparently was not resolved in the standing-room-only meeting, though, as none of the measures adopted addressed it. According to the meeting minutes, the five-member Board of Supervisors responded to the public by:
Rejecting restrictions for private land on how many people could shoot, what days shooting would be allowed, and the size of the property where shooting could take place.
Lowering the minimum acreage required for public shooting ranges from 75 to 25.
Extending protection from noise ordinances to landowners’ guests when target shooting on private land (the landowners are already exempt).
Restricting target shooting on private land to the hours between 7 a.m. and dusk.
Locals continued to raise concerns about the daylight restriction. One person noted that landowners would not be able to zero in telescopic sights at night and another that hunting of coyotes and raccoons at night could be mistaken for target shooting, potentially causing a complaint and thus wasting public resources.
The show of strength for the Second Amendment demonstrates how important it is for gun-rights advocates to oppose any attempts to restrict our right to keep and bear arms. The NRA’s network of grassroots volunteers also can use your help to ensure we elect candidates who respect the Second Amendment next November. Please go to nraila.org/grassroots/volunteer to sign up to help.