Public safety committee to hear from experts, examine options
The town of Stallings wants to collect more information before potentially making changes to its firearms ordinance. During their Monday, Sept. 26 meeting, town council members agreed to send the issue to their public safety committee for review.
After hearing concerns from residents, Mayor Lynda Paxton had brought up the issue, questioning if the town should restrict or eliminate the use of guns within Stallings.
“This is not some crusade that I’m on to revise this ordinance,” Paxton said. “I do agree with the citizens that it’s probably time we prohibit (the) use of firearms within town limits but I’m open to whatever the council decides.”
Under the current town ordinance, residents can hunt or target shoot, as long as it’s not within 500 feet of a home, school, church, building, park or public gathering place. That includes both pellet and BB guns, which are covered under the ordinance. The penalty for violating the ordinance is either a $100 fine or 20 days in jail So far, no one has violated that ordinance, according to local law enforcement.
Other council members were concerned that by restricting the use of firearms, the town would limit property rights.
“We had a lot of property owners who were here before developments,” council member Harry Stokes said. “I feel we are taking citizens’ rights away.”
Stokes added he felt there would be repercussions to taking away the right to shoot.
The town council had requested information from staff members about how neighboring towns deal with the issue of hunting and firing guns. In Weddington, residents can’t fire any weapons within 150 feet of a building. Hunters can’t shoot birds in Indian Trail, as the town was designated a bird sanctuary. Marshville, Monroe, Wesley Chapel and Wingate prohibit the discharge of guns within their town limits.
“Hunting seasons are never a surprise,” council member Reed Esarove said, pointing out that the dates for each season are posted years in advance. Council members considered posting an announcement on the town website when hunting season comes up each year, to alert residents.
The town’s public safety committee will take up the issue at their next meeting Oct. 24, then the council will take up the issue again later that night.