Selectboard meeting fosters community conversation on useful but not burdensome restrictions
By Cristina Kumka and Polly Lynn
Killington will take steps toward adopting a new ordinance that restricts gunfire along certain town roads. The details, however, are still being ironed out after the town Select Board and the police chief received input from citizens at the Select Board meeting, May 5. About 18 residents attended the Tuesday meeting.
Chief Whit Montgomery, in response to numerous calls from residents about noisy, rapid gunfire along River Road, proposed a plan for “restricted firearms discharge areas.”
Under state law, towns cannot restrict the possession of guns nor one’s ability to hunt, fish or trap but towns and cities can regulate or prohibit gun use within the borders of their specific town.
“With those two directions by the state, it allowed me to come up with an idea that would be best for our town,” Montgomery said.
“The different parts of the town that I am recommending we have restrictions on… are River Road, Schoolhouse Road, West Park Road, Barrows Town Road and Roaring Brook Road,” he said, explaining that these areas are in close proximity to schools, recreational areas and golf courses. There was subsequent discussion on whether or not all of River Road needed to be restricted. The 4.8 miles on the other side of Thundering Brook Road may be excluded as they are a significant distance from town library and recreation fields and trails.
Montgomery said the prohibited area would extend 200 yards from the roads. He proposed fines ranging from $50 per ticket for a first offense to $200 per ticket for a fourth offense and all subsequent violations.
Defense of your life, property or animals, butchering farm animals, as well as hunting, would be exempt from the restrictions, he said.
“It’s mainly target shooting we are trying to eliminate from certain areas,” Select Board Chairwoman Patty McGrath summarized.
“What we are trying to discourage is someone, generally in their backyard with close neighbors, popping off and doing this. There is a balance. You have a right to have a gun but you have to be a good neighbor… respectful,” McGrath said.
McGrath wanted to hear from more “gun owners and people who hear the noise” prior to approving any new proposal for a town ordinance on gun fire restrictions.
Cristina Kumka is a correspondent for The Mountain Times, Cristina_kumka@yahoo.com.