Supervisors consider firearms ordinance

Published 11:42 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Shooting a gun out of your front door may no longer be legal if the Board of Supervisors decides to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms within 150 feet of another residence.

“Since the storm, there has been a great influx of people,” said Danny Laird of Lane Road. “There are now a lot of people and a lot of children. I think the board should adopt a policy on how close someone can shoot off a gun.”

Laird, who moved to Pearl River county five years ago with his wife, told board members during Monday’s meeting, that a couple of months ago a motor home was moved onto the property next to his, and since that time, the person living in the motor home has made a regular habit out of shooting off a high-powered rifle at all hours of the day and well into the evening. “He’ll shoot up until 9:30, quarter to 10,” said Laird. “I even saw him eating with one hand one day and shooting out the door with the other.”

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Pointing out that he was not against owning guns or firing them, adding that he was a gun enthusiast himself, often going to a shooting range with his son on a regular basis. Laird said the problem with the new neighbor is that “he shoots all types of firearms” dozens of times and at nothing in particular.

“It is a very dangerous situation,” said Laird who said he decided to see how the neighbor liked having a gun fired for no reason. “About three weeks ago I went out there and blasted a few rounds in the ground,” said Laird. “It got quiet for a while.” However, he said the situation “has almost turned almost into OK Corral,” adding that he believes the neighbor was firing his gun “for intimidation purposes only.

“We had five years of peace and then this happens,” said Laird who said that even his wife’s health has been affected by the gunfire, so much so, that she was hospitalized recently because of it.

Laird said he had researched Mississippi statutes in reference to firearms and told the supervisors that Mississippi State Statute 45.9.53 gives local jurisdictions the right to “regulate the discharge of firearms.”

According to Mississippi Code of 1972, section 45.9.53, local jurisdictions can “regulate the #discharge #of #firearms within the limits #of the county or municipality …”

The statute goes on to state that if the property would need to be at least 10 acres and more than 150 feet from a residence or occupied building located on another property, and “in a manner not reasonably expected to cause a projectile to cross the boundary of the tract …”

Laird told the supervisors that where he lives on Lane Drive “there is not any direction you can shoot where there is not a house.”

Pointing out that even the Sheriff’s department was unable to do anything to limit the firing of the guns, Laird said that he has done everything he can to stop the gunfire. “I just ask you to consider adopting a state regulation,” said Laird.

Sheriff David Allison said that he had a noticed an increase in the number of complaints about gunfire, adding that he would compile a statistic report for the board. “We are getting more and more calls,” said Allison.

“I can’t tell you where those bullets are going at night, heck, I can’t tell you where they are going during the day,” said Laird. “It’s for the public’s safety, and as part of the public that’s being harassed, I’m asking you to consider this.”

Hales said that he understood that this was a problem and that if given a little time for the board attorney to research the problem, that perhaps the board could find a solution.

Board members unanimously agreed to take the matter under advisement and research it for a solution.