Community input for gun range is loud and clear

Jul 01, 2014

Oftentimes, public input on important local issues is heard too late to make a difference because people don’t get involved in the decision-making process.

Luckily, that hasn’t been the case in Canton as the town explores location options for a new police department firing range. When word got out around town that the board of aldermen was considering locating the range off Dutch Cove Road near the old landfill, the community of Gibsontown brought their concerns to a public meeting.

It is now clear that the community doesn’t want a firing range close to their homes, and for good reason. The town is still exploring possibilities and planned all along to hold public meetings regarding the firing range before any decision was made. Nonetheless, it’s good that the residents of Gibsontown spoke up when they did.

Canton’s board of aldermen may be more willing to look harder at other options after about 20 residents showed fierce opposition to the range being in their backyard. It is clear that this is already a sensitive topic for the residents of Gibsontown, who already feel marginalized in the community. Residents did the right thing by standing up and having their voices heard early on in the process. It shows that there is a benefit to staying informed about what your local government is doing because you never know when a decision may affect you and your family.

The board hasn’t done anything wrong — the board members have discussed funding a firing range as part of the budget-planning process at public meetings and fully intended to hold a public hearing before making a decision about location.

Input from residents was helpful to the board by giving the town ideas for another suitable location.

We encourage the board to look at all options — whether it’s using another agency’s range or finding a location that would not disturb residents’ rights to peace and quiet on their property.

The residents of Gibsontown have reminded all about the very essence of our governing system in America — and that it works when people take the time to stay informed and speak out.

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