I wanted to share my thoughts on the discussion at the [Springfield Township] Board meeting [Dec. 9].
Residents of Springfield Township have asked township officials for help with the nuisance and safety issues related to the unloading of firearms in the township. Under current Summit County Ordinance 549.08, residents are permitted to unload firearms in townships for the purpose of target training without regulation to move away from their neighbor’s home. The main complaints I have received relate to safety and noise resulting from shooting at people in residential areas in Springfield Township.
Since I became Chief of Police in February 2020, shooting in the community continues to be the main complaint I receive from residents. From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, I received over 100 complaints of shootings in Springfield Township. The townships have little power to restrict the use of firearms on private property. The municipalities in Summit County, on the other hand, all have ordinances prohibiting the unloading of weapons within city / village limits. I propose that the Township of Springfield be given the same powers as the municipalities with respect to the nuisance and safety issues associated with the unloading of firearms in residential areas.
I have attached a proposal that does not infringe the freedom of Summit County residents associated with hunting as permitted by Ohio law. The proposal simply gives Springfield Township administrators the ability to regulate the unloading of firearms for target practice. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. I am not suggesting infringing on the rights of legitimate gun owners; However, I must also take into account the annoyances and permanent dangers associated with the unloading of firearms in the residential areas of our township. I have listed the current Summit County Ordinance as well as the Proposed Summit County Ordinance 549.08 for your reference.
Current Firearms Unloading Ordinance, 549.08: (a) No one shall unload an airgun, rifle, shotgun, revolver, pistol or other firearm within 100 meters inhabited accommodation which is the property of another, except for the shooting of salutes by order of a veteran, an appropriate military or police organization or for the purpose of target shooting or competition. (b) This article does not apply when firearms are used in self-defense, in the exercise of official functions or where otherwise authorized by law. (c) Anyone who violates this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.
Proposed Unloading Ordinance, 549.08 Unloading Firearms. (a) No person shall unload an airgun, rifle, shotgun, revolver, pistol or other firearm within 300 meters of a residence which is the property of another . (b) This article does not apply to the following cases: (1) When firearms are used in self-defense. (2) In the exercise of his official functions by the police. (3) Hunting permitted by Ohio law. (4) Firing salutes on the order of an appropriate veteran, military service or police organization. (5) As permitted by indoor or outdoor shooting ranges for which a zoning certificate has been issued by the local zoning authority or through applicable legal process. (6) When otherwise permitted by law. (c) Anyone who violates this section is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor.
Many farmers in Springfield Township have made the difficult but sometimes lucrative decision of selling their land to real estate developers and giving way to housing developments; as a result, the formerly rural areas of Springfield Township were transformed into subdivisions. This is another reason why the offloading of firearms in our community has become a major concern. The Township of Springfield has grown into a township with a population of almost 15,000 and for that reason we need additional restrictions that will make the Township of Springfield a safer place to live, work and visit. Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can provide you with any further information.
Jack Simone, Chief of the Springfield Police Department
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