Editor: I am writing to support a review of the current firearm regulations in Loudoun County. The current incident at Willowsford is just the beginning of trouble when “growth and guns” come face to face.
I live in Loudoun County, just outside of the Purcellville town limits. Last year, my family tried to address the sounds of gunfire that were occurring every weekend near our Oak Ridge Farm development. On the weekends we had to endure listening to gunfire that was equal to a fire fight on a war’s front lines. Multiple automatic weapons fire was heard. When we asked our neighbors about it, they said it was just the local farmer having some fun with friends. The rounds heard had our dogs under the bed. Anyone with PTSD would be alerted to these menacing sounds.
We contacted the local zoning office and they wanted to know the address. When we investigated , we noted that it was a private property access and we did not proceed. We advised zoning that they should be the ones to investigate, along with law enforcement, if necessary. We asked if there was an approved shooting range on that property. We were informed that the zoning official was also the NRA representative for Loudoun county, to us an apparent conflict. He promised that he would look into it. In fact, our impression was that zoning was looking the other way on the weekend shoots.
Our house does not back to this property, however, there were neighbors who were surprised that they had bought a property that had this issue. (Five years ago, there were no houses there, now there are many homes that have children and animals.)
It is my opinion that the close neighbors are afraid to say something about the possibility of stray bullets. There are a few here that bully people about guns and gun rights. They talk about “by right” to shoot guns at will on their land. They are talking of an era when there were no neighbors for miles around, now neighbors are a few feet from their property line. There must be changes made before a tragedy happens.
In this era of, “If you see something, say something,” we said something last year and were ignored by zoning and the law. The supervisors must review this issue and change firearms regulations in all of Loudoun County. This includes farmland that touches or that is in close proximity to new developments in western Loudoun.
In addition, shooting should only be done on certified shooting ranges. The certified ranges should be inspected for safety issues and be enclosed for sound and any environmental lead disposal issues.
Being proactive on this issue will save lives. We were lucky this time. Let’s hope that the supervisors review the safety of our neighborhoods and new firearm regulations are put in place as soon as possible.
Nancy Feeney, Purcellville