, Derry, New Hampshire

October 25, 2012

Residents fire away at gun ranges, Mushquash

By James Niedzinski
Derry News

---- — LONDONDERRY — Residents had a chance to fire questions at the Town Council about noise pollution coming from the Musquash Conservation Area and nearby firing ranges.

Earlier this month, town Councilors held a special meeting at the Londonderry Country Club to hear the noise for themselves. They met last week to discuss their findings.

Noise pollution, whether it be from the police firing range, the Fish and Game Club firing range, or noise from the Musquash Conservation Area, has been a problem for decades, according to country club owner Tom Kimball.

“It’s all day, seven days a week,” he said. “Nothing has been done to keep the noise down.”

Kimball said the shooting was coming from all three sites, but not everyone agreed.

“The complaints primarily gravitate toward the police firing range,” Londonderry Fish and Game Club president Rick Olson said.

There may also be a problem with target shooting in the Musquash.

People have been using parts of the Musquash and nearby power line corridors for target practice, Olson said. Targets have included old cars and household appliances.

“It’s a real environmental concern,” he said.

Police officers have been paying special attention to neighborhoods around the shooting ranges for years, according to Lt. Ryan Kearney of the Londonderry Police Department.

Kearney said the report showed 29 people have called about hearing gunshots over the past three years in the areas of Sara Beth Lane, Kimball Road and Faucher Road.

“The complaints are unfounded,” Kearney said. “There is no illegal activity and nothing harmful.”

Some residents suggested police officers should use the Fish and Game Club firing range rather than their own.

Although others were critical of the noise coming from the police firing range, located next to the Londonderry Fish and Game Club and near the Musquash.

“The bottom is line, is the Londonderry Police Department firing range is making most of the noise most of the time,” Town Councilor James Butler said.

Dana Coons said he belongs to a different gun club, where police are allowed to practice at their range. Coons described it as “a big problem” and fully supports the Londonderry Police Department firing range.

Kimball also suggested an indoor range be built, or additions be made to the mounds in the firing ranges to help block out the sound.

But an indoor range would be costly not only to build, but also to maintain.

Police have limited the usage of their range and shooting times, Londonderry police Chief William Hart said.

“We want to be good neighbors,” he said.

Although no vote was taken, councilors will look into posting signs within the Musquash about limiting target shooting, Town Council Chairman John Farrell said.

In addition, the police department will look into ways to limit sound coming from its range, Hart said.