Vernon Councilman Andrew Pitsker on Aug. 23 said he’s looking at two ordinances to address stray bullets in the Glen Harbor section of town in recent months.
“We’ve had a couple of occasions where it’s been reported where firearms were also discharged at a residence, and it’s a legal act,” Pitsker said. “But we need to control that. Because one bullet lands in the wrong spot, it can kill somebody.”
One of the ordinances Pitsker suggested was for “gun range design” and the other was for “firearm-discharging at a residence.”
There have been two incidents in which stray bullets have hit homes in Glen Harbor. One of the homes is said to have children living there.
“This isn’t a Second Amendment issue because we’re not saying anything about ownership or possession,” said council president Harry Shortway. “Vernon being rural and a farming community, farmers have been going in their backyards and target shooting, as well as they can shoot varmints year-round with different weapons. I think we have to weigh safety.”
Shortway said he produced several ordinances earlier in the year and that there were no other ordinances in New Jersey to address the issue. He believes whatever ordinance the township passes will have to go through zoning.
“I think the NRA is great to start with, as far as what we want to look at,” Shortway said. “I think we’re going to have to call in the engineer, talk to the police department, and their ballistic firearm people, and see where we go with this.”
Shortway said it’s a delicate balancing act, weighing the rights of gun owners with public safety.
“It’s tough because we live in a rural area,” Pitsker said. “Some of us who’ve been here for years see we’ve had some expansion, and these residents should be protected. This is what we can do, putting these ordinances together.”
“Vernon being rural and a farming community, farmers have been going in their backyards and target shooting, as well as they can shoot varmints year-round with different weapons. I think we have to weigh safety.” Harry Shortway