Guilford County Commissioners debating limiting shooting on private property

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Do people have the right to shoot guns on their property, if it’s legal, whenever they want, for however long they want?

It’s a heated topic Guilford County Commissioners are looking at Thursday night after they say they’ve gotten too many firearms-related complaints.

The existing ordinance has not been changed or discussed for 36 years.

Commissioners told FOX8 things have changed since then: the county is more populated, and there are more homes and buildings in the area.

That means there are more people to think about who could be impacted by someone shooting a gun in their backyard.

But there’s no easy answer.

“They’re just wanting to make it safer for everyone. And as a responsible gun owner, we’re all for safety,” Shane Naylor said.

Naylor has been shooting and hosting tournaments at his range, Shane’s Sporting Clays, in Summerfield, for over three decades.

He said they’re big on promoting safety and education.

He added that they have never had anyone complain about safety or the noise coming from their property.

Naylor was surprised when he saw some proposed changes to the Guilford County firearm ordinance, that could shut his place down.

“We just don’t want to be, I guess infringed on, being able to shoot on private property or on a range,” he said.

The recommendations in the ordinance are three-fold: it includes enforcing distance requirements for shooting at least 150 yards away from other homes and buildings; restricting when people can repetitively shoot off their guns to between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.; and a time limit on how long someone can shoot on private property.

“You only get two hours of time in a day, consecutive time in a day to shoot,” Naylor said. “We shoot longer than two hours. It takes, just to go around and shoot on our course, it takes two hours just by itself.”

He’s only concerned with the time restraints.

“They’re trying to limit when you can shoot and they’re trying to put some parameters around shooting on your own place, and they’re trying to do it during the daytime,” Naylor said.

County Commissioner Skip Alston disagrees.

“I shoot at the range also. A box of bullets, I can do that in 15 minutes or less,” he said. “That’s a lot of ammunition being shot in a small period of time.”

In a late Wednesday night meeting with stakeholders, commissioners decided to make ranges like Naylor’s exempt from the proposed regulations.

Alston told FOX8 it’s because they’ve been around for so long and haven’t had any problems.

The goal of the ordinances is to focus more on people shooting in their backyards, near neighborhoods.

“What about your neighbors’ rights for quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their property? We have to balance the two,” Alston said.

He is willing to work with both sides to come to some sort of an agreement.

But Alston said he’s not willing to budge on safety measures, after several cases of stray bullets injured innocent bystanders, like the man injured at Sedgefield Country Club in June.

“People have been shooting on their sites and it’s going through people’s houses,” he said. “Our intent is not to limit the use of your guns, your ownership of guns. We just want to make sure you’re responsible and considerate of your neighbors.”

As of now, the ordinance would fine violators up to $500 for each incident.

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