Resident to commissioners: Tighten noise rules on shooting ranges

A resident of the countryside beyond Burlington has asked Alamance County’s board of commissioners to slap a metaphorical silencer on the outdoor shooting ranges that operate outside the county’s cities and towns.

Darrell Russell of McCray Road approached the commissioners on Monday to request some county-level regulation of shooting ranges in response to a particularly-noisy venue that he said has gone into business about a mile away from his home.

“I’m not asking this because I’m against guns,” Russell insisted when he made his pitch to the commissioners during a designated public comment period. “I own guns, and I support the Second Amendment. My issue is about the excessive noise that comes from shooting range in general.”

Russell went on to share his specific concerns about the shooting range not far from his home.

“At times,” he recalled, “this range sounds like a war zone…Occasionally there’s a loud boom that sounds like dynamite, and it will rattle the dishes in my house over a mile away.”

A retired civil engineer who once served as the city engineer for both Mebane and Graham, Russell isn’t the first person who has approached the county’s elected leaders to request some regulation of firearms in unincorporated parts of the county.

The commissioners actually considered some rather substantial restrictions on gunfire in the spring of 2019 after a number of residents approached them to complain about their experiences with trigger-happy neighbors.

The board even flirted with the idea of imposing a curfew on shooting, only to back down in the face of a barrage of objections from firearm advocates. In the end, the commissioners county’s governing board approved some largely cosmetic changes, including an amendment to the county’s noise ordinance that, for the first time, criminalized “any excessively loud or disturbing” noise.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, the county will do about the ruckus that drove Russell to the board’s meeting chambers on Monday. In any case, the retired civil engineer argued that noise from his neighborhood shooting range is voluminous enough that the venue requires its patrons to wear noise protection when they’re on site.

“But it does not appear they have any concern for the neighbors,” Russell went on to add.