Do you live near a sport shooting range in Maine? You may want to take note.

L.D. 1500, An Act To Protect and Promote Access to Sport Shooting Ranges, which is currently under review in committee, grants immunity from court or municipal oversight for all expansions of activity at sport shooting ranges.

This bill puts the interests of sport shooting ranges above the lives of ordinary people who have their homes within hearing range. The bill sidesteps the normal community processes by which issues are heard and conflicts resolved.

Maine citizens have a long tradition of governing themselves and of resolving issues with local impact at a local level. The proposed bill goes against that fair and sensible tradition.

In contrast to the newly proposed law, the current law (Title 30-A, Section 3011) protects pre-existing sport shooting ranges but explicitly allows municipalities to regulate noise produced by an expansion of activity.

Current law also allows for legal action against a sporting range for noise if there has been a substantial change in use of the range after a change of ownership (Title 17, Chapter 91, Subchapter 3, Section 2806). The proposed bill would eliminate these protections for homeowners, thus exposing them to the risk of significant decreases in property value.

If you are concerned about escalating shooting noise and safety issues, please attend a Judiciary Committee public hearing on L.D. 1500, scheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Room 438 on the fourth floor of the State House.

If L.D. 1500 passes, shooting ranges will lose any incentive to be a good neighbor, may expand at will without any oversight, and we will see our own rights and legal protections erased.

Please contact your state representatives and senators as well as Judiciary Committee members and express your opposition to this unfair legislation.

Mark Carver