Disturbing the Peace?


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Magnuumpwr
April 1, 2005, 10:10 PM
I live in a rural area of southeast Texas on 30 acres. Here is my problem, on several occassions I have had the local police showup at my house and tell me that someone called and reported that I was disturbing the peace by shooting my guns. :cuss: I have a dirt berm that I shoot into and like I said, I live in the middle of 30 acres. They never tell me who has called in the complaints and have never issued any citations. Are there any LE people who can explain this to me?

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Standing Wolf
April 1, 2005, 10:17 PM
They never tell me who has called in the complaints and have never issued any citations.

Sounds like plain and simple police harrassment to me. If anyone had actually complained, he or she would most probably have a name.

Corey ACP
April 1, 2005, 10:53 PM
With what little info you gave, it sounds like you have a neighbor who either hates guns, is paranoid, or dislikes you enough to take the time to call in a complaint. Where I live and work, we must respond and investigate all calls to dispatch weather the caller chooses to give his name or not.

consider the scenario......Joe Blow calls 911 to report he heard gunshots, saw a suspicous person, an alien spaceship whatever,.. and the P.D. decides to dismiss the call for service as just so much B.S. How will Joe Blow now react when P.D. never shows up? (believe me most anonomous callers will usually hide inside and peek out the blinds to see what P.D. will do). If Joe reported activity that caused him concern, he as a taxpayer deserves to have the agency check it out.

the fact that no offical action was taken, pretty much says it all. Local Police show up, speak with you and determine nothing is wrong then they go away. (Its what we do)...back to doughnuts, coffee, hiding behind the billboard to catch speeders no doubt.

One persons recreation, (shooting) is anothers loud annoying noise. Same with playing loud music, yelling, dogs barking, cars with no mufflers etc....If the P.D. come by in the future on a similar complaint, strike up a conversation, make a friend, offer to let them fire a few rounds on your private "range" after all, there are worse things than gettting to know the local P.D. officers.

Contrary to what others may believe, Even the most rural P.D. has better things to do than single out anyone, let alone a law abiding citizen for "harassment", (whatever that means).

JohnKSa
April 1, 2005, 11:02 PM
Check your local laws, but I don't think just making loud noise qualifies as disturbing the piece. Certainly not in a rural environment. You'd have to be doing it very late or very early before there were grounds for a genuine complaint.

Next time the LE come out, ask them if they'd like to see your range. Show them how careful you are and how safe your setup is. Tell them how you limit your shooting to normal daylight hours (you do, don't you?) how you avoid shooting early in the morning on weekends, and explain any other information that will make you seem reasonable, safe, and generally an all around good guy. If you have any really neat guns, you might ask them if they'd like to shoot it.

If they buy it, I'm thinking they'll quit bothering you. At the least, you may get them to tell you who's complaining so you can see if you can reach some sort of agreement with them.

Magnuumpwr
April 1, 2005, 11:23 PM
Your right John, I don't shoot after 4PM and never before 10AM. The only exception is on New Years' Eve and the 4th of July, 100 yd tracer show. The only real time the deputies show up is usually after burning off a couple of 50 BMG rounds. :confused: I guess next time they show up I'll ask them to see if they are interested in test firing it or maybe the carbon 15 pistol. It doesn't really bother me that they show up, but it is just wasting their time. As for the looking out the curtains, the only thing visible to my neighbors is my driveway so unless they are trespassing they can't see diddly.

Steve in PA
April 1, 2005, 11:35 PM
Aw yes, the ole police harassment thing. :rolleyes:

The police don't have to tell you the persons name, they only have to investigate whether or not the complaint is real.

Did they tell you to stop shooting, as in you were violating some type of ordinance, either noise or the discharge of firearms?

Since you didn't state they did, I'm assuming they just investigated the complaint.

And the reason they don't have to tell you the name, is because as soon as they leave they don't want you deciding to confront this person. If you were to be cited, you would meet him in court.

JohnKSa
April 1, 2005, 11:55 PM
Forget the Carbon 15--get the .50 out. If that's what's generating the complaints, that's what the cops need to shoot. I'd sure jump at the chance!

Zundfolge
April 2, 2005, 12:09 AM
Sounds like plain and simple police harassment to me. If anyone had actually complained, he or she would most probably have a name.
The police will NEVER give you the name of someone who called and complained to them about you. If they did; 1) most people would never complain to the police and (or rather because) 2) there would be a few dead or injured complainers.



Basically the cops here are just following up on the complaint of some busybody/annoying person because thats their job ... since you've never been written a citation I'd say its not "police harassment".

chris in va
April 2, 2005, 03:00 AM
I can understand. 30 acres isn't that big a parcel, and some people living out in the country really don't want to hear gunfire.

I'd probably need at least 2-300 acres before I'd feel semi-comfortable shooting on my property.

whm1974
April 2, 2005, 06:04 AM
You could build a privacy fence aong the sides of the berm going to your firing line is at. The outdoor range I go to is set like that. Planting trees along your property lines would help cut down the noise as well.

But really the police should tell whoever is calling them that it is legal for you to shoot and there is nothing that can do.

-Bill

akviper
April 2, 2005, 03:28 PM
Dang, I wish I had a bill board to hide behind. It sounds more like a bad neighbor issue. If they are complaining about your noise they are probably anti and not convertable. If it only happens when you shoot the 50 you might consider the rubber tire tunnels some people use to cut the noise a bit.

Bear Gulch
April 2, 2005, 03:38 PM
Get to know your neighbors. Invite them to join in. It is amazing how folks will work with you if your friendly.

VARifleman
April 2, 2005, 03:39 PM
consider the scenario......Joe Blow calls 911 to report he heard gunshots, saw a suspicous person, an alien spaceship whatever,.. and the P.D. decides to dismiss the call for service as just so much B.S. How will Joe Blow now react when P.D. never shows up? (believe me most anonomous callers will usually hide inside and peek out the blinds to see what P.D. will do). If Joe reported activity that caused him concern, he as a taxpayer deserves to have the agency check it out.
What about the police that don't show up to a call for help? They have plenty of court precidents that say that they don't have to at all? Why should they show up to his house instead of the one that called for help instead of reporting a disturbance?

Shorts
April 2, 2005, 03:52 PM
People here call the cops because "I heard gun shots"....never mind the 50 acres surrounding our private gun range...never mind the gun shop range out back either. People just call to complain and the cops will just check it out.

Next time the cops show up, show them your range. Ask them for specifics about when you can shoot. Ask them if it is even legal to shoot. Then ask them how you can shoot and not have the cops called on you all the time. Hopefully the cops will start getting tired of the same complaint and will tell the complainers of your proper setup.

Antjo
April 2, 2005, 04:19 PM
Two friends and I used to shoot all the time in our back yards. I lived next to a small valley and would go down into there and shoot into an embankment. Well as our little town grew we had more and more cops show up every time we would shoot. One day we had around 6-7 handguns out and were plinking. When we came up from the valley there were 2 cruisers, 2 more at the end of my drive about 150 yards down and 2 more flying down my drive. We were like *** and kinda put our hands up. All of us had guns on our hips. Luckily one of my buddies knew the cop that ended up in my driveway and asked him what was going on. Cop said there were 10 complaints and since the road was closed there were cops walking in the woods at the muzzle end of our embankment. They thought we were shooting at them. After checking all our firearms and safety slips and seeing that we were doing NOTHING illegal, they strongly suggested that we didn't shoot there ever again. I was about to tell them to get the ???? of my property and start shooting again, but I didn't want them to make up something to get me on.

Never had to deal with that bull???? growing up. I could grab my shotgun and a pistol and shoot birds all day long just a few steps out my door. Now, the whole damn police force shows up.

M2 Carbine
April 2, 2005, 04:20 PM
Been shooting on my place since 1967.
20 acres, west of Fort Worth.
Was shooting a half hour ago and probably average every third day.
It's your land and you can shoot on it, as long as you are safe and of course aren't in the city limits.

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Edit
Come to think of it. I bought the land from the county judge and I asked him if there were any restrictions AT ALL, especially shooting.
For quite a while I landed an airplane on the road, until we put mail boxes too close to the road.:D
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Never had a complaint, except years ago one neighbor girl came over and said, That sounds like a machine gun?
I said, You're right and she left.

Like one neighbor said, I like to hear you shooting, I want anyone around to know we have guns.

It sounds like there's 4-6 other people that shoot around here.


If that isn't enough, I licensed my place as a Heliport about 1968.
Since I retired I've been flying only a powered parachute from my place.

The neighbors don't even complain when I'm doing touch and goes through their front yards at 7AM. :D

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/DSC00245.jpg

big inch
April 2, 2005, 07:20 PM
Maybe the person who complained works at night and sleeps during the day. :scrutiny:

I'm not saying that they should be calling the police every time you shoot, but I am just offering an explanation.

Bear Gulch
April 2, 2005, 07:31 PM
I cannot say it enough. Get to know your neighbors. If youcan get them involved or at least on board the complaints end.

MoeMentum
April 2, 2005, 07:50 PM
Maybe your neighbors moved out to the country for some peace and quiet?

Majic
April 2, 2005, 07:56 PM
Go to the LEO headquarters and ask to speak to who's in charge and discuss the matter. If it's the neighbors then take the matter up with them. If it's the LEO then he/she should deal with that.

Bear Gulch
April 2, 2005, 08:04 PM
I grew upin rural Georgia. We had good relationships with the neighbors. It saved them from getting made when we shot skeet in the back pasture. It also got us access to their land for hunting season. A venison roast or two each year ensured that we'd always be welcome. We helpped the elderly folks with chores as weel. I am sure that some of the grumpier ones would have griped, but they knew my family and let it slide. We own (my parents still live there) 47 acres, btw.

Warbow
April 2, 2005, 08:33 PM
The neighbors don't even complain when I'm doing touch and goes through their front yards at 7AM.

Heh!

Are you in your rig while you took that photo? Looks like a parachute shadow...

thorn726
April 2, 2005, 08:52 PM
i would consider your
"right to know your accuser!"

i can't call the city and complain about a car parked illegally for months without tellnig the mwho i am where i live, why this matters to me, even though someone is breaking the law.

if someone is reporting you, they at least can't fine you or get you to court without telling you who is the complaintant.
this stuff about the cops never telling you who it is only holds up unti lyou have to go to court. as long as you keep complying, the neighbor will rmain nameless.

like other said, getting to know them all, figure out who it is, and make some deal (maybe certain days/times no shooting).

there are noise laws some places, but seems like with a helipad, you got permission to make a BUNCH of noise already.

M2 Carbine
April 2, 2005, 10:53 PM
Warbow Quote:
The neighbors don't even complain when I'm doing touch and goes through their front yards at 7am.
Are you in your rig while you took that photo? Looks like a parachute shadow...
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Yes, That picture is actually a still captured shot from a video camera I have mounted on the nose wheel steering. That's why it's a little blurry.
The picture is of the approach to my RC flying field. If I don't land I have to make about a 15 degree left turn and climb out to the left of the big dark green tree. That puts me through the neighbor's yard. :D

So a little shooting doesn't bother the neighbors but then there's nothing they can do about it anyhow. ;)

Magnuumpwr should tell the police/ Sheriff, "I'm not breaking any laws shooting on my land and I expect you to tell whoever is complaining exactly that."

I've been flying since 1960 and this is probably the strangest thing I've flown. :)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v135/Bell406_206B/Buckeyelowpass.jpg

Justin
April 3, 2005, 12:04 AM
Reason #4,356 why sound suppressors should be de-regulated.

entropy
April 3, 2005, 06:46 AM
A small amount of investigation on your part should reveal who is doing the complaining. When did the complaints start? Did some one move in around you about then? (Probably city folk that moved out to the country, and just don't understand because they have this fantasy about how rural life should be. I have dealt with this over the last 2 years, as the neighbor sold the 80 directly across from us, and there are now 50+ houses on it! :fire: Predictably, some of the 'city folk' didn't like me shooting in the hayfield next to them, which is my landlord's, and where he asked to do my shooting.) When you find out who they are, go over to their place and say, "Y'know, I've only recently been getting visits from the local PD about me target shooting on my own property. They assure me that I am not doing anything illegal.Have they been bothering anyone else around here over frivolous complaints? It seems such a waste of taxpayers money and Police resources. I would be willing to work with someone who has issues with my shooting, like setting up an agreeable time and or days of the week..." ;)

Stasher1
April 3, 2005, 11:49 AM
Maybe your neighbors moved out to the country for some peace and quiet?

Maybe they should find themselves a nice quiet subdivision in the 'burbs.

AF_INT1N0
April 3, 2005, 12:37 PM
Reason #4,356 why sound suppressors should be de-regulated.

De-regulated?! Hell given out instead of those stupid gate...er gun locks!!!

At least people would use surpressors

gazpacho
April 3, 2005, 02:38 PM
I second the recommendation about planting trees and shrubs all the way around your shooting range, including on top of the berm. The foliage will do a lot to reduce noise, and restricting yourself to reasonable hours, say 10am to 5pm will show that you are going out of your way to be respectful to your neighbors.

Reyn
April 3, 2005, 03:06 PM
Where im from we dont have a disturbing the peace law. If its 3am and a person is firing off rounds it would be harassment. The towns have ordinances as far as discharging a firearm in the city limits. Once you are in the county you can do what you want as long as the conditions are safe. We have a small company that makes zero reloaded ammo here. They have been in the news lately because neighbors are complaining of the noise when they test fire ammo. The buisness is in the county and the complainers have been told there is nothing that can be done. The owner seemed real sympathetic and tried to please them by shooting mid day. The complainers even contacted the ATF who inspected their range and buisness before the complaining started. ATF stated they were in compliance. The buisness owner stated the problem started when some adjoining land owners cut the timber down that seperated the two. Apparently it absorbs a lot of the noise.

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