Gun safety makes sense
I grew up in a Vermont hunting family, but it’s still frightening when I hear gunshots – what’s the distance or direction? Is the shooter responsible? Are we safe? Nowadays it just makes sense to strictly limit gun use around Essex homes and parks. Perhaps limited hunting during some specific game seasons, with public notices to wear hunter orange. Please, no shooting ranges.
Ordinance changes unjustified
Contrary to some stated opinions, hunting and shooting is proven to be safer than badminton for participants and bystanders alike. With no compelling evidence to the contrary, it is unreasonable to justify any change on safety. Ordinance changes should be based on facts. All facts, including safety, support leaving the firearms ordinance alone. Hunting is cited as shooting ranges cannot be affected by the ordinance change. The board acknowledged this in a public meeting.
- Regulating hunting is the purview of the state. A recent law overturn in another state indicates it is a good bet some of the existing firearms ordinances that try to affect hunting in Vermont only continue to exist because they have not been challenged. The board heard in a public meeting they could face legal action over ordinance changes. As a taxpayer, I would hope the board would not risk a lawsuit with public funds, especially when the facts show the majority of participants in every public discussion I’ve attended have been against regulating hunting through an ordinance change.
- A board that is willing to restrict specific public activity on any public taxpayer-owned property without substantial facts to justify such restriction risks losing the confidence of the taxpayers. Once confidence is lost, it can be very difficult if not impossible to secure future public easements from residents for any purpose. Why would you cede control to the town when it might turn around and prohibit you with that control? Public property should be open to public activities unless facts show otherwise.
- The board acknowledged hunting is essential to control wildlife populations. Prohibiting hunting is already a proven risk to the safety of all residents through disease vectors, collisions and bear interactions, at a minimum. It does not seem prudent to expand an ordinance for safety when the facts show it will clearly impact safety negatively in these areas.
- Population density outside the village is the same as neighboring communities with no ordinance. The board must ponder objectively why residents should be more burdened with restrictions than our neighbors when the facts show (zero incidents) there is no greater risk.
- Public areas are increasingly opening up to hunting to secure their ecological future. The Vermont Land Trust specifically encourages hunting on almost 600,000 acres. To quote: “We want our children, grandchildren, and future generations to enjoy local food, farming, clean air and water, hiking, hunting, forestry, and sugaring.” Once again, the facts show hunting is no greater safety risk than other outdoor activities.
Private land activities should be determined by the owner. Public lands should be open for all users to co-exist and enjoy, not a favored few.
Kendall & Sheila Chamberlin
To hunt or not to hunt
I am a hunter and Essex resident that hunts right here in Essex. There are some people that are extreme left and some that are extreme right. As a society, we need to meet in the middle. If you ban all hunting in Essex, then the population of deer, bear, coyotes and so on will increase which will bring more disease and rabies to the animals and a lack of food and in return the animals will be visiting more in heavy residential areas looking for there next meal which could be trash, pets, chickens and so on.
The bad hunters that make poor decisions end up giving the rest of the hunters a bad name, and for this, the people against hunting and guns want to ban everything. They look at it as “not in my backyard.”
So with that said, if someone driving a car makes a poor decision and ends up hurting someone else do we ban all cars from the roads and punish the good drivers in the town of Essex? If a snowmobiler makes a bad decision, do we ban all snowmobiles? If someone makes a bad decision driving a four-wheeler, do we ban all four-wheelers? Stop and think about this for a minute: Where do we draw the line? Do we ban everything and just stay home? The town of Essex has some great hunting and many large tracks of land outside of Essex Jct., which are safe to hunt on. It would be a shame to ban hunting and shooting guns in all of Essex.
Only Essex voices matter in ordinance debate
Despite the opinion of Brad Kennison in the September 5 edition of the Essex Reporter, some of the 489 signatures he obtained for no change in the shooting ordinance came from out-of-town residents! PlaceSpeak was an online platform for only residents of Essex town and village to participate in. If pro-change residents obtained signatures who use Saxon Hill to bike, hike and run, we would have thousands!
To obtain correct information on what the Essex Planning Commission is doing, ask to be on the community development mailing list. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the list. You will receive the up to date agenda for the Sept. 27 meeting that will be discussing the Essex Town Plan as its primary business. Dana Hanley is the coordinator. Participate and voice your concern for Route 15 corridor safety leading to R1 area to bike, and run, even with your baby jogger! Sidewalks are a necessity from Whitcomb Meadows to Saxon in order to arrive safely.
Also, kudos to the Essex Park and Rec Department for listing Saxon Hill Trails in the fall recreation catalog! 11,000 of us are thrilled to have received this wonderful advertisement in our mailbox. Thank you.
A quote from Essex Planning Commission web page: “When government officials, business leaders and citizens come together to build communities that enrich people’s lives, that’s planning.” – American Planning Association.
In favor of shooting ordinance changes
I am very much in favor of making changes to the present ordinance regarding the discharge of firearms in the area surrounding Indian Brook and Saxon Hill.
It is not only reasonable for the selectboard to make these proposed changes, it is necessary to ensure the safety of our community given the increase in population density and recreational use of these areas over the last several years.
This is not about gun control. I have owned guns, have hunted and enjoy shooting. This is about limiting the discharge of weapons during hunting season only so that all citizens can enjoy these two regions safely.
Jane Donahue Davis