Commissioners discuss gun use
Published 12:00 am Friday, September 2, 2016
LaGRANGE — A local couple is asking county commissioners to ban the firing of guns in subdivisions in unincorporated Troup County.
Jan and Les Stanley of Beaver Cove Lane spoke to commissioners Friday during a work session at the government center and expressed concern about a neighbor they say is shooting high-powered guns.
“We live in a very small subdivision,” said Jan Stanley. “Very close to one another. We would like a variance for our neighborhood or a noise ordnance or a nuisance ordnance. Something has to be done for the safety of everyone.”
The commissioners are currently looking into the matter, but under current law the shooting is legal.
“If you live in the county, and you are shooting a weapon, and it’s not 3 o’clock in the morning, and you are shooting at a safe direction, there is nothing in the current law that we can do to prevent him from shooting his gun,” said Sheriff James Woodruff.
Les Stanley told commissioners he suggested that the neighbor use a shooting range located about 3 miles away from his residence instead of inside the neighborhood.
“It doesn’t matter what direction he shoots in,” said Jan Stanley. “He is aiming at someone’s house, property or lake. … He is putting all of our lives in danger.”
While he was sympathetic to the Stanleys’ concern, Woodruff was cautious about new gun laws in county subdivisions.
“One thing I want to caution the commissioners about, if you pass a blanket law in a subdivision and somebody sees a snake in their yard in Heritage Hills and gets a pistol and shoots it … and I don’t know how restrictive you all are going to make this,” he said.
The commissioners took the concern seriously and made it clear that they want to continue to allow people to use guns for self-defense.
“When this board sits there and looks at this policy, we will be covering everything,” said Commissioner Morris Jones. “You’ve got to have a little leeway there for dog-gone snakes crawling through your yard … but you can’t get out there and shoot a hundred rounds waking up (the neighbors).”
Commissioner Tripp Foster suggested consulting with other affected groups to gain insight into changing the law.
“I’d like to recommend that we create a task force not just for this one, but for countywide to address this issue,” Foster said. “It is paramount that we include every agency that has anything to do with this – (the state Department of Natural Resources), the sheriff and his department, even the fire department … the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers … because a lot of the Corps land boarders these areas of unincorporated Troup County.
“All of these people need to have a stake in this, so that when we are at the table having the discussion, and of course our county attorneys being there to advise legal issues. There is going to be different perspectives. … Different people at the table can bring different ideas.”
Woodruff said his department would notify the shooter of the board’s involvement.
The Board of Commissioners is set to further discuss at its regular meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday on the first floor of the Troup County Government Center, 100 Ridley Ave.