Monday, March 21, 2005

Shooting Bans Coming to a Place Near You Too

No matter where you go or how long a commute, gun-grabbers will piss on your parade. Bill and I moved to New Hampshire primarily to enjoy our Second Amendment rights. We like to shoot and hunt. We prefer to do so where we won’t bother too many people.

There are places in Massachusetts where you wouldn't dare shoot and many in New Hampshire--too many people. But there are places where you can find large tracts of land with few laws to worry about and few neighbors to complain. You’d think people in semi-rural parts of New Hampshire wouldn’t mind the sound of gunfire. You’d be wrong.

There’s a forested area in Merrimack, New Hampshire that has long been used for target shooting and hunting. It’s named the Horse Hill Nature Preserve and spans 563 acres. Bill and I didn’t know of it until we read an article about people who want to ban all shooting within it. Amazing what you don’t know even when you live close by.

Well, these people who don’t like gunfire or hunting are actively seeking to close that land to target shooters and hunters. Leading the charge is John McCann. His property abuts the preserve and he says the gunfire sounds like World War II. Needless to say, there’s more than a little exaggeration here (but I’ll say it anyway).

McCann wants to have the preserve declared part of Merrimack’s “compact area” which would automatically preclude shooting for any reason according to state law. It’s tantamount to saying the preserve is like a town square in New Hampshire and you can’t shoot there.

When McCann’s proposal got before those in charge of the preserve, one of them wants to allow hunting, but ban target shooting. Of course, McCann and his wife aren’t happy and want to ban all shooting in the 563 acres for any purpose. It'll be voted on soon.

Why are people like this? I have no idea what ax McCann is grinding. I don’t know if he’s a new resident, a vegetarian foe of all hunters, or an anti-gunnie. He may just be a person who enjoys quiet and doesn’t like to hear gunfire. Sure guns are loud, but you’re talking about 563 acres. There has to be room for multipurpose use within any large preserve.

People are trying to restrict where we can shoot and hunt for every reason they can think of. There are many fewer places to shoot that when I was growing up. Before my time, big cities including Chicago and New York City had open air shooting galleries set up between buildings. People could lay down a quarter on the counter and pick up a gallery rifle (usually a .22 short pump-action Winchester) and pop away. Those ranges have followed Dodo’s to extinction. One time, not too long ago, you could find a large tract of land, say 563 acres, and shoot. Well, that may pass too.

Bill and I plan to find the Horse Hill Nature Preserve soon and shoot a few targets. We may not get a chance if we wait too long.

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