After second stray bullet hits residence, ordinances drafted to regulate target practice

Vernon. The township needs to take immediate action to address “an extreme safety hazard,” says the Vernon council.

Vernon /
| 07 May 2021 | 01:36

Vernon Township Council President Harry Shortway said he has drafted two ordinances after hearing about a second stray bullet that hit a residence at Glen Harbor Estates last year.

The first ordinance allows target shooting in the township, and the second deals with the reckless discharging of firearms.

“This creates an extreme safety hazard for our residents,” Shortway told the council at its April 26 meeting. “Immediate action with due diligence is needed in this matter.”

The ordinances require review by the township attorney, Josh Zielinski, as well as public discussion and editing before being formally introduced at a future council meeting.

“We cannot sit back and wait until it takes one round to kill somebody,” Shortway said.

Shortway said the Right to Farm Act does not cover target shooting. He said it’s long been assumed, even by himself, that you could just shoot on your own farm.

He referred to a case that he investigated as a police officer in West Milford. A shot fired across a lake killed a woman and wounded her husband after the bullet went through her, he said.

“We cannot allow this in our community,” Shortway said. “This isn’t about Second Amendment rights. We’re not arguing the possession or the ownership (of guns). We’re saying, ‘If you’re going to fire it, it’s got to be in a safe manner.’”

“This isn’t about Second Amendment rights. We’re saying, ‘If you’re going to fire it, it’s got to be in a safe manner.’” Harry Shortway