Monday, April 13, 2015

Rural Kansas residents who complained about gun noise told to learn to live with it

Rural residents in Douglas County, Kansas, (Wikipedia map) who are displeased they have to hear what sounds like a war zone as a result of neighbors firing guns are being told they need to just live with it, Peter Hancock reports for the Lawrence Journal-World. Resident Alan Miller told Hancock, "It's not a question of target shooting. I'm talking about semi-automatics and high caliber rifles. It’s almost unbearable."

One problem is that Douglas County's noise law, "which was last amended in 2011, specifically exempts, 'the lawful shooting of firearms between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. or in connection with lawful hunting activities," Hancock writes. Even if local authorities wanted to make changes, local officials say state law prohibits local governments from enacting local gun laws.

In 2007, Kansas lawmakers "stripped away most of the authority that cities and counties had to regulate firearms locally," Hancock writes. "As the law stands now, local governments are prohibited from enacting any laws or regulations governing the 'purchase, transfer, ownership, storage, carrying or transporting of firearms or ammunition or any component or combination thereof.'"

Another issue is urban transplants unfamiliar with gun noise moving to rural areas, said Lt. Steve Lewis, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, Hancock writes. Lewis told Hancock, "Rural areas of Douglas County are becoming a little less rural. Some of the people there tend to be suburbanites or urbanites who find things like firearms and neighbors driving all-terrain vehicles on their property to be a nuisance. Sometimes it’s just a matter of learning to live with things you don’t particularly enjoy about your neighbors." (Read more)

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