Gun safety gets Select Board attention in Plainfield
PLAINFIELD — A gun seller in town wants her neighbor to stop shooting his guns without something to stop the bullets.
Darlene Covey, along with her husband Thomas, owns and operates Black Ops Firearms in Plainfield. Covey attended the town’s regular Select Board meeting this week to ask the board to do something about an issue she says she has been dealing with for three years.
Covey said her neighbor, John Pallas, and his family shoot their guns for hours on end without anything to stop the bullets’ travel if they miss their targets. She said the Pallas family lives on a small parcel of land on Fowler Road surrounded by other people’s property and homes, including a field owned by the Coveys. Because the parcel of land the Pallas family occupies is so small — just over a quarter acre — Covey said that without something to stop the bullets, they’re always traveling across someone else’s property.
Covey said the Pallas household used to target shoot towards her field, where she would walk, work and where her woodpile is located, but she convinced them to stop shooting in that direction. Now, she says, they shoot toward trees in another direction where there’s a house and where they come perilously close to shooting into Fowler Road.
“If someone happens to be walking down, driving down in a car, it’s not a good situation,” she said, calling it an accident waiting to happen.
Plainfield has an ordinance adopted in 2006 that bans people from shooting guns within the village, but the ordinance contains no language addressing how people can shoot their guns elsewhere in town.
Covey asked the board to amend its gun ordinance to add a provision saying if people want to shoot their guns, they must put up a berm, or mound of dirt, or some other obstacle to block the travel of the bullets and keep them from going into other people’s property. She also suggested having a minimum acreage requirement for people wanting to shoot firearms on their own property. She said a regular .22 caliber bullet can travel anywhere from half a mile to a mile.
Covey said she’s tried talking to the Pallas family about her concerns, and has sent them letters about the issue, but nothing seems to be working. Sometimes when she hears the guns going off, Covey said she goes out and walks towards the Pallas property to talk to them about their shooting and when they see her they stop shooting and run into the house.
Pallas did not return a call for comment.
Covey said she sells guns and hunts with guns. She doesn’t have a problem with firearms, “But I do have a problem with people using them and not being safe about it. I don’t care if they shoot whatever, as long as (the bullets) stop on their property.”
After the meeting, Covey said she wants people to use guns, but to do so responsibly.
Select Board member Bram Towbin said the proposal seemed like common sense. Select Board chairwoman Alice Merrill said she would investigate the issue and see what the board can do.
The board planned to take up the matter at a later meeting.
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