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December 16, 2021
Letter to the Editor
I wanted to provide you my thoughts related to the discussion at the [Springfield Township] Board of Trustees meeting [Dec. 9].
The Springfield Township residents have been seeking help from township officials for assistance with the ongoing nuisance and safety concerns associated with discharging firearms in the township. Under the current Summit County Ordinance 549.08, residents are permitted to discharge firearms in townships for the purpose of target practice without regulations to distance from their neighbor’s home. The principal complaints I have received is related to safety and noise resulting from folks shooting in residential areas of Springfield Township.
Since I became police chief in February 2020, shooting in the community continues to be the leading complaint I have been receiving from residents. From April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, I received over 100 complaints of shootings in Springfield Township. Townships possess 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 discharge of weapons within city/village limits. I am proposing that Springfield Township be provided similar authority as municipalities regarding the nuisance and safety concerns associated with discharging firearms within residential areas.
I have attached a proposal that does not infringe on Summit County residents’ freedom associated with hunting as permitted under Ohio law. The proposal simply provides Springfield Township trustees the ability to regulate discharging of firearms for target practice. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m not suggesting infringing on lawful gun owners rights; however, I must also consider the ongoing nuisance and dangers associated with discharging firearms within residential areas of our township. I have listed the current Summit County Ordinance along with the proposed ordinance Summit County Ordinance 549.08 for you to review.
Current Discharging Ordinance, 549.08, Discharing Firearms: (a) No person shall discharge any air gun, rifle, shotgun, revolver, pistol, or other firearm within 100 yards of an inhabited dwelling which is the property of another, except for the firing of salutes by command of a proper veteran, military or police organization or for the purpose of target practice or competition. (b) This section does not apply when firearms are used in self-defense, in the discharge of official duty or when otherwise lawfully authorized. (c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Proposed Discharging Ordinance, 549.08 Discharging Firearms. (a) No person shall discharge any air gun, rifle, shotgun, revolver, pistol or other firearm within 300 yards of a residence, which is the property of another. (b) This section does not apply to the following: (1) When firearms are used in self-defense. (2) In the discharge of official duty by law enforcement. (3) Hunting as permitted under Ohio law. (4) The firing of salutes by command of a proper 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 lawfully authorized. (c) Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
Many farmers in Springfield Township have made the tough but sometimes lucrative decision to sell their land to developers and give way to housing allotments; therefore, the once rural areas of Springfield Township have been developed into subdivisions. This is another reason why discharging firearms in our community has become a major concern. Springfield Township has become a populated township with nearly 15,000 residents and because of this we need additional restrictions that will make Springfield Township a safer place to live, work and visit. Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can provide you any additional information.
Jack Simone, chief, Springfield Police Department
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