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Town shooting crackdown has residents up in arms PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 16:50

Board’s effort to restrict outdoor use of firearms sparks protests from gun owners who question tougher measures

    More than 30 residents wearing camouflage clothing attended the Grafton Town Board meeting Oct. 11 to express their concern regarding the town’s shooting policy.
    The residents were recently informed of a potential amendment regarding the town’s nuisance ordinance as it applies to firing ranges and modifying the regulation of firearms discharge permits.
    Noting the town’s number of residential areas continue to grow, and that the town’s no-discharge zone has grown accordingly, the town’s attorney Sara MacCarthy said it’s time to tackle the problem under the Grafton’s firearms policy, which she said hasn’t been changed since being established in 1983.
    Town Chairman Lester Bartel said a small number of people are causing the problems, but they are severe. The shooting is taking place in three different areas, mostly on the town’s eastern edge.
    “I was at Costco one day, and someone asked me what is going on?” he said of reports of shooting near the Village of Grafton’s busy eastside commercial area.
    Land on Lakefield Road between Port Washington and Highway C is also the focus of complaints, including shooting after dark.
    “We have received legitimate complaints about people coming out on weekends and firing hundreds of rounds of high-powered ammo, which has been scaring the bejeepers out of people,” Bartel said.
    “A letter was addressed to those property owners to let them know that firing ranges in the town are not allowed, and as property owners they are responsible for what is going on on their property.”
    The letter also stated the town’s no-discharge zone but it apparently didn’t correspond to the town’s map, which was a point of concern for many residents in attendance.
    “I moved to the Town of Grafton so I could shoot,” resident Mark Ebert said.
    MacCarthy noted if there is a discrepancy between the map and the language in the letter, the language takes precedence over the map. She also said she will review the map to make sure the no-discharge zone is clearly labeled.
    Resident Jack Curtis voiced concerns over trying to define such things as firing ranges and specifying what types of weapons are considered reasonable.
    “There is a lot of gray area when defining a firing range, it could mean a number of things,” he said.
    Bartel said he did not want to penalize responsible landowners who want to hunt on their property. He suggested the town could  consider requiring a special permit for absentee land owners that specifies what type of shooting will take place and by whom.
    This situation has caused problems in the past when shooters treated properties like a firing range. In February, the town revoked a firearms discharge permit for a property on Arrowhead Road, which is near the town’s I-43 business district, because of complaints. In the spring, the town decided to not reissue that permit.
    “You’ve got people doing it here because they can’t do it in the town where they live,” Bartel said.
    “And they’re doing things you wouldn’t be allowed to do at the Saukville (Rifle and Pistol) Club.”

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