Shooting ‘rule’ is a no-brainer

This should be an easy decision for the Milford Board of Selectmen:

Ban shooting, other than legitimate hunting, on the town-owned Brox property. There is no reason not to.

Recently, Police Chief Michael Viola and Capt. Craig Frye asked the board to do just that, preferring an ordinance that would give them the authority to ask shooters to leave the property. They did so after town officials received complaints about shooting, including some from the nearby Heron Pond Elementary School. Viola has been asked to draft the wording of a town rule. Selectmen prefer a “rule” rather than an ordinance because the latter could mean a ban on hunting, too.

At the moment, we can see no reason to ban hunting, especially because the vast majority of hunters are responsible, careful people. But folks who just go into the wild to pop off guns aren’t necessarily as careful as they ought to be.

And we have to ask this: What is the point of just standing around and shooting at … what? Trees? Rocks? Discarded pieces of furniture? There is inherent danger in doing that, danger to life.

Last week, The Cabinet carried two letters to the editor about the shooting issue. In one, a writer reported that when she went to the Brox property, there was a “No Vehicles Beyond This Point” sign riddled with bullet holes. Good hunting, guys. Perhaps the sign was rabid.

In another letter, a writer charged that the selectmen seemed to be “mostly concerned about violating the ‘rights’ of the shooters than about the rights and safety of the students and staff at Heron Pond School.”

He might have reached that conclusion after reading that Selectmen Mike Putnam and Gary Daniels had spoken against a shooting ban because there are already too many rules limiting people’s freedom. Really? Freedom to shoot up town signs? Freedom to fire at will wherever you will?

Safety should be the main concern here, but a second concern should be nuisance. People live around the Brox property and understand, we’re sure, that during hunting season, they will hear gunfire. We live in New Hampshire. Hunting season gunfire is a given.

But there is no reason they should have to put up with it year-round just because someone with a gun wants to blaze away at inanimate objects.

A ban on non-hunting shooting on the Brox property is for the safety and welfare of everyone, and we strongly support the police on this issue.

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