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A western Bartholomew County resident who is upset about the noise created by a neighbor’s hours-long target shooting asked the County Commissioners on Tuesday to institute a noise ordinance.
However, the man’s request missed its intended target as the commissioners took no action on the request.
Bob Campbell, who lives near Tamerix Lake off of Youth Camp Road, said his neighbor’s gunfire is limiting his ability to enjoy the peace and tranquility he hoped to find by moving into the country. Campbell said the neighbor, who was not identified, shoots every couple of weeks for several hours at a time. The sound of the gunfire is louder than fireworks and is injurious to his hearing, Campbell said.
“I know that people have their rights, but I think if you look at the situation with guns today, people have semiautomatic and automatic weapons, and they can shoot these for hours and make tremendous noise,” Campbell said.
He asked the County Commissioners to create a nuisance noise ordinance that would ban that sort of disturbance.
“I think people who move out to the county are looking for a quiet place to live,” Campbell said.
“Anything that is a nuisance noise probably ought to be banned. That is just my view. I know there is some resistance. I just like my peace and quiet, and I think I have the right to that more so than a person who shoots off a gun for an hour or two,” he added.
County Attorney Grant Tucker said the county does not have a noise ordinance, and he was reluctant to recommend the commissioners approve one. Tucker said the nature of life in the county is that people are allowed to perform noise-making activities, such as farming or riding all-terrain vehicles.
Further, Tucker said his view is that new county ordinances should not be used as a way to settle disputes between neighbors. Instead, Campbell could avail himself of the court system that is set up to handle such disputes under the civil nuisance law, Tucker said.
“If you get the judge to go along with that and to buy into it, that is how people who live next to one another, or close to one another, ought to solve their disputes rather than coming into government and saying, ‘Make a law that applies countywide,’” Tucker said.
County Commissioner President Carl Lienhoop said the sheriff’s department is understaffed and instituting a new law would create an additional workload for deputies.
Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz said it is difficult to legislate common sense or courtesy.
“It is one thing to go out and target shoot for 10 or 15 minutes,” Kleinhenz said. “Two hours and 300 rounds? He probably ought to be going farther out into the county or to a gun range. And that is just the common courtesy side of it, that if everyone was courteous we don’t need as many laws as we have.”
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