Town Council Sends Target Shooting Ordinance to Voters

The Town Council voted 5-0 to move to the Town Warrant an ordinance that would restrict target shooting in the Musquash Conservation Area.

If approved, the ordinance would limit target shooting in the Musquash to turkey and deer hunting seasons by shooters with a valid New Hampshire Fish and Game license and who complete a check-in procedure with the Londonderry Police Department.

Additionally, the ordinance extends the protective shooting radius for discharging a firearm from 300 feet to 600 feet and establishes caliber restrictions equivalent to those allowed for hunting deer and turkey, with no center fire and no additional allowances for specified long rifles, with the exception of .22 Long Range firearms.

The ordinance has been in place on a trial basis since Sept. 14, during which time Police Chief Bill Hart said the Department worked to educate the public about the new ordinance and requirements.

During the three months the ordinance was in effect, the Police Department received 37 calls reporting target shooting in the Musquash.

Members of the Conservation Commission said they noticed a reduction in the amount of target shooting they observed in the Musquash after the ordinance went into effect. However, Hart said there is generally less target shooting activity in the Musquash during the period of time the ordinance was in place.

Target shooting activity picks up in April and slows down between the end of August and September, according to Hart.

Of the 37 calls the Department responded to, three calls were from Derry locations, 18 came from the Musquash recreational area and 16 calls were received from other parts of Londonderry.

And of those 37 calls, one is being investigated as a potential crime, two were for shooting at the Londonderry Fish and Game Club and in the other cases, the shooter was not located.

Hart also reported the check-in procedure at the Police Station was completed four times, each time by Dan Watson, a member of the Musquash Task Force and writer of the proposed ordinance.

“I think the numbers don’t give any clear indication. It shows one person who knew about it showed up four times,” Hart said of the ordinance.

“I’m in favor of the article. I think it’s in a line with what the people want,” Councilor Joe Green said.

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