Editor: Supervisors Ron Myer and Matt Letourneau joined Democrats in rejecting a study committee’s recommendation to reject further restrictions on hunting and shooting in Loudoun County. Instead, the board directed that the committee take another look at increasing restrictions.
This knee-jerk reaction to incidents of reckless discharge in western Loudoun and the chipping away at liberty, gun rights and property rights is not the answer. As Penn Gillette said, whenever something really bad happens, the government’s answer is to take away liberty “from law-abiding citizens.”
A restriction that would increase the distance for hunting from 50 to 100 yards from a road, makes little sense. If a hunter shoots parallel to, or away from a road, moving him another 50 yards deeper into the wood doesn’t make us safer. Loss of orientation from the road might make it less safe.
The suggestion that land owners build expensive berms or shoot downhill, is also unnecessary. Existing codes and regulations already prohibit shooting across roads, in the direction of houses, or recklessly. All that’s required is enforcement. For violations that can’t be proven, long-standing tort law can provide redress. The real dangers are not the rare incidents of reckless shooting, but the consequences of over-reaction.
Deer overpopulation and an epidemic of Lyme disease are far more dangerous to the average citizen.
With less hunting area, Loudoun would see increased dangers from deer overpopulation. I live in Sterling. Last year, a deer suddenly jumped out of woods along Georgetown Pike to hit my car. No speeding, no time to react. A deer also ran into the side of my wife’s car near Waxpool Road. Damage to cars costs money, but luckily nobody was killed, injured, or swerved into oncoming traffic.
Since the last Board of Supervisors meeting, I also met two people who suffer from debilitating Lyme disease. One young man’s immune system is so weak, he’s afraid to be near large groups of people.
These are the real threats to life and limb for most of us in Loudoun County, especially those of us living in eastern Loudoun. The last thing we need is less hunting in the west.
The desire of politicians to grandstand or “do something” other than protect our freedom is strong. Similarly, the last time the issue came before the board, Loudoun Nowprominently featured a handful of “Moms against Gun Violence.” The paper’s only photo showed those few, but ignored the rest of the room—completely filled to capacity with those opposed. That was our local news perspective.
Although knee-jerk, anti-Second Amendment votes from Democrats Randall, Umstattd, and Saines, who voted for even more sweeping restrictions, are expected, Republicans like Myers and Letourneau should exercise “common sense” restraint. The Loudoun County Republican Committee, which voted unanimously to protect the right to hunt and shoot on private property in western Loudoun, should censure any Republican who votes for more “feel good” restrictions on liberty—restrictions that would actually make us less safe.
Wally Bunyea, Sterling