Proposed Firearm Ordinance Scrapped by Committee

But the Ordinance Committee might amend an existing ordinance to address numerous complaints about target shooting in town.


After hearing numerous target shooters and hunters speak against a proposed new firearms ordinance, the Legislative Council’s Ordinance Committee decided to scrap it and make amendments to the existing ordinance instead.

About a hundred gun owners, many of them members of the Fairfield County Fish and Game Club, showed up at the committee’s meeting at Newtown High School Wednesday to voice their opposition to the ordinance.

No one spoke in favor of it.

The proposal came from the Newtown Police Commission. Council Chairman Jeffrey Capeci, who is an Ordinance Committee member, said the Police Commission and First Selectman Patricia Llodra have received numerous complaints from town residents about neighbors shooting guns.

The Police Commission’s proposal would have restricted target shooting on private property in Newtown without the permission of the police chief.

The proposed ordinance would not have applied to hunting, which is under state control.

Gun owners took advantage of the public participation portion of the Ordinance Committee’s meeting agenda to assail the ordinance as an infringement of their constitutional rights to bear arms and claimed there was no need for it in the first place.

"I don’t believe this ordinance is necessary," said Andrew Buzzi of Obtuse Road, who, like many others, is a member of the Fish and Game Club.

He and other speakers noted that although there have been many complaints to the police, very few of them were found to involve any risk to public safety. Most of the time, the shooting had stopped by the time officers arrived.

"Let your standard for the passage of this ordinance be necessity," Buzzi said.

A number of speakers told how they had enjoyed shooting on their properties for years without having anyone complain.

Elmer Cox said his family has lived on Pond Brook Road since 1935. His parents taught him to shoot, he taught his sons, and he looks forward to teaching his grandchildren when they are old enough.

His son, Aaron, noted state law and an existing Newtown ordinance both prohibit shooting within 500 feet of a building that houses people or domestic animals without the permission of the owner.

Tom Catalina of Butterfield Road said there had been no reports of injuries or property damage caused by target shooting, so he doubted there was a safety problem. "Don’t try to fix it if it’s not broken. There’s no evidence," Catalina said.

After the public comments, the committee discussion quickly showed little support for passing the proposal, although members also felt they should respond in some way to the numerous complaints.

So they decided to make revisions of the existing ordinance, perhaps to add a provision restricting hours for shooting or requiring gun owners to notify the Police Department ahead of time when they planned to shoot.

Roger B September 13, 2012 at 02:20 PM
It makes sense for veryone who wishes to shoot a gun on their own property to have the police come round and check out who is shooting the gun where they intend to do the shooting to make sure it's safe. That doesn't seem to be asking too much and may avoid accicents in the furure even if there have been no incidents in the past.
Randy Pineau September 13, 2012 at 02:38 PM
I hear what you are saying Roger ... but we can't establish an ordinance as you describe if there are no criteria to establish what is safe target shooting and what isn't. A safety review can not simply be based the objective opinion of some politician or some other potentially influenced inspector. Here is a wonderful piece of legislation that Wilton has concerning "Going Out Of Business Sales": "The Chief of Police shall examine the details of the inventory and the items of property sold during any sale under such license. It shall be unlawful for any applicant or licensee to withhold from the Chief of Police any facts or information required by him in the enforcement of this ordinance. The Chief of Police shall have power to enter the establishment during normal business hours to examine the property." What in the world does the CoP have to do with a sale? Doesn't he have better things to do? Come on ... we can't have legislation institute this kind of garbage!
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Next time the rooster is down off the old Congregational Church, take a look at the bullet holes in the old bird. Squeamish yuppies who have no understanding...and WISH to have no understanding...of responsible firearms ownership and operation...a Police Chief with megalomaniacal tendencies, and a compliant First Selectman...That's a bad brew. Keep them in check citizens.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 05:32 PM
"The Police Commission’s proposal would have restricted target shooting on private property in Newtown without the permission of the police chief." Bad idea. And is the good Chief and his staff REALLY that underemployed??? Maybe Newtown's Finest can bag some more overtime making sure little Johnny knows who to properly operate his Red Ryder BB Gun. The seemingly lack of any ability to prioritize in this town is truly breathtaking.
Veritas vos liberabit September 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Let's open up Dickenson park to target shooting also. There's plenty of space there. Plus it would be good for the kids to learn to avoid flying bullets, in case they ever visit Florida.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Actually Sully, that idea has merit. Build an outdoor handgun and rifle range at the Town Park. That would make an excellent Parks and Rec initiative.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
...and the clock is ticking on how much longer before Sully deletes the above post and my response with it....
Veritas vos liberabit September 13, 2012 at 07:06 PM
what's wrong Skipper, the huge bull maket got you down, all your clients heading out the door to Vanguard ? Dow 13,522.24 188.89 +1.42%
Mary Ann Jacob September 13, 2012 at 07:49 PM
The purpose of the Ordinance Committee is to fully vet suggested Ordinances brought to the council by varus boards and commissions. Thevsix members are not expected to be experts on every possible topic that is brought before the committee. However, its our job to fully vet the issues, consult with people who are the experts to learn and make fully informed decisions, and provide a venue for the taxpayer to provide input. Last night in our second meeting, we began to discuss what our next steps would be and what information we will need in order to make a recomendation. Among other things, we will consider federal, state and local law. As the chairperson of the committee of clueless people Mr.Crafts refers to, its my responsibility to bring all the facts to the table before that final recomendation is done. Perhaps staying engaged through the rest of the process might make Mr. Crafts more comfortable in the outcome.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM
It never should have seen the light of day.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Yes, let’s end hundreds of years of tradition in Newtown; let’s walk into the gray area of private property rights and 2nd amendment rights JUST so some idiot isn’t mildly disturbed during his weekend barbeque. This town has MUCH bigger fish to fry. Can ya’ll please start thinking a bit bigger. And knock of the tendency for public policy in town to coddle the ignorant while punishing the responsible.
Veritas vos liberabit September 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Randy, check out what you need to go thru in Newtown to get a simple open burning permit !
Roger B September 13, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Well said, Mary. Just because forming legislation is difficult does not mean it should not be addressed. In answer to Randy P: "if there are no criteria to establish what is safe target shooting and what isn't" then criteria should be established.
Veritas vos liberabit September 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Maybe you want Newtown to be like the yahoos in Florida, stand your ground, stalk and kill someone for wearing a hoody, shoot first ask later IF you FEEL a threat.
Paul Alexander September 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
I think so...with an "e"...?
DAY September 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Never a good idea to challenge someone to a spelling contest without doing a spell check of your own writing first - just sayin...
Veritas vos liberabit September 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Paul and Day, You may want this for Newtown, most educated folks don't.................. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlUcUfHkdYk
Randy Pineau September 14, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Roger B. - Apparently, we've been target shooting safely in Newtown for quite some time. There have been no injuries ... and no property damege resulting from target shooting. Why exactly do you feel our town needs to fix something that's not broken? This is mot a safety issue.This whole discussion is happening because a few, very persistent callers have nagged the police incessantly over the sound of gun shots on.a Sunday afternoon. And tbe police have to go out and check each incident in person. They're tired of it. Hey, I live fairly close to Rt. 84. Trucks make plenty of noise - mostly in the overnight hours. I could call the police, but it wouldn't do much good, I know this.The real solution would be for me to move. Quite simple, I think.
Sean M September 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Yahoos?? A man in a neighborhood watch follows a teenager, who we find out after the fact, who has a criminal record. He ends up on the bottom with said teenager beating him (as the pictures show). What should Zimmerman have done? Asked him nicely to stop?
Paul Alexander September 14, 2012 at 04:49 PM
So you better check in with the Po Po before legally and responsibly operating your firearm in Newtown. Welcome to "The Constitution State" ! P.S. Don’t forget to pay your taxes.
Andrew Morrow December 17, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Nancy Lanza, a target shooting "enthusiast" was killed by her own rifle.
karen egert March 17, 2013 at 03:41 AM
What is wrong with these people ? Now I see its not such an oddity in your town to shoot your guns /// geeez -- can't you think of another activity to do ??? What's up with your town ??? I can't believe you're allowed to shoot guns in your backyards !!! This has NOTHING to do with the second amendment for god sakes . If is a safety hazard and Frightening .... What is wrong with you people ??
Donald Borsch Jr. March 17, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Andrew, Proof she was killed by a rifle, or it didn't happen as you would like others to believe.
Thomas Crafts March 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Po po was at the meeting the other night looking to tell the rest of us what to do and how to live. She is completely unqualified to tell anybody anything about shooting ranges or firearms. She doesn't know which end the bullets go in.
Thomas Crafts March 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM
It's only frightening if you are completely ignorant, which you seem to be. You must be used to living that way by now.
Donald Borsch Jr. March 17, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Sean, Zimmerman should have taken the beating because he obviously deserved it. /sarcasm
Donald Borsch Jr. March 17, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Thomas, Emotion trumps facts with the anti-gun crowd. They figure if they screech loudly enough, or pout when the cameras are rolling, it will make their voices more credible. Tedious.
CK March 17, 2013 at 05:45 PM
'Now I see its not such an oddity in your town to shoot your guns /// geeez -- can't you think of another activity to do ??? What's up with your town ??? I can't believe you're allowed to shoot guns in your backyards I love hearing from the liberals who have been priced out of their comfort zones in the Upper East Side and closer suburban zones who freak out when they come to live amongst us rustics.
CK March 17, 2013 at 05:50 PM
This has NOTHING to do with the second amendment for god sakes . If is a safety hazard and Frightening .... What is wrong with you people ?? What is wrong with us is that we do not live in a perpetual state of fear. We are not afraid of things like peanut butter, fireworks, or some good ole boys who shoot some target practice in their backyards. The question is turned back on you, what is wrong with you people? Why are you so cowardly? Are you afraid of your own shadow to the point that you are willing to infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens?
Donald Borsch Jr. March 17, 2013 at 06:12 PM
CK, Their "right" to not be scared of eeevil guns and other things they simply cannot understand trumps your pitiful right to have a gun. In the "us vs them" battle, they feel they must win because they are, after all, entitled to trample upon the Constitution in favor of their feelings.


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