Ban target shooting at The Depot

August 24, 2010 2:00 AM

New Hampshire is a fairly loose state when it comes laws about gun possession and gun control. But that should not include allowing people to fire weapons in areas where other people might be present.

Such apparently has been the case in Hampton Falls, where Police Chief Robbie Dirsa recently went before the Board of Selectmen with concerns about target shooting in The Depot area of town near the salt marsh.

He told them of at least two harrowing instances when people were out on the marsh when target shooters were taking pot shots.

One was a harbormaster on a boat and the other was a UNH professor who had to crawl out of the marsh on his belly as bullets whizzed by overhead. Either man could have been killed or wounded.

Dirsa also pointed out that with the types of rifles being used, the rounds could easily reach across the marsh to Hampton Beach.

This is a far cry from duck hunters using shotguns with pellets that can't travel anywhere near that far.

Dirsa thinks the problem has increased in recent months because of the closure of a firing range in Seabrook.

He said after the July 13 incident with the boater, two Exeter men were charged with reckless conduct.

"They said someone had recommended they come down to The Depot for target practice," Dirsa said.

He wants selectmen to modify The Depot ordinance, to add no discharge of firearms in the area of the rail trail, boat landing and road.

That would seem like a no-brainer, but selectmen failed to act.

One of them, Richard McDermott, said he did not want restrictions on hunters.

Another, Rosemary Kasprzak, said it is important to keep residents safe while in the area for various activities, including kayaking, but she didn't go along with the chief's request either.

Dirsa says he's going to go back to the drawing board and come up with another proposal.

In the meantime, posting a "no target shooting" sign, warning that people could be charged with felony, might be a good idea.