DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

June 26, 2014

Londonderry target shooting still a hot issue

LONDONDERRY — Target shooting concerns in the Musquash conservation area still have a lot of people fired up, enough that the Town Council will plan a public forum to give residents a chance to give more input.

That public meeting may not happen until September, according to Town Council Chairman Tom Dolan, saying at a meeting last week he hoped to plan the forum after the busy summer season ends.

“This can be an emotional topic on both sides of the issue,” Dolan said.

Shooting in the Musquash has been a concern for many months.

There have been reports of damage to kiosks on conservation land and complaints about noise.

Hunting is allowed on the property, but it’s target shooting that keeps coming back as a top worry for many people, Dolan said.

Councilors have said in the past that they appreciate the responsible gun owners who use the Musquash for hunting and follow all rules.

It’s the damage to the trees and trails that’s troublesome to residents and officials alike.

Councilor Jim Butler said at a previous meeting that all citizens have a right to bear arms. He is also a licensed gun owner.

“In my opinion, the target shooting is not by responsible gun owners,” he said.

Dolan said the issue has brought out many people to Town Council meetings to speak their minds.

“The last time we engaged in this, people filled the room and flooded the hallway,” he said.

By planning a public forum in September, it will give people a chance to think about the topic, get through the summer vacation schedule and start fresh, he said.

“I assure the public the Town Council is looking into this matter and what policy, if any, we should enact to deal with this issue,” Dolan said.

In the next several months, councilors will do research on other communities and how they handle shooting on conservation property.

The meeting will give residents a chance to speak out about shooting. It will most likely be held in a large space like the high school cafeteria, Dolan said.

“We will open the space up,” he said. “I expect there to be a large public interest in the topic.”

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