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Posted: 11/14/12

Bruce begins firearm
discharge discussions

Observer Staff Writer
      The use of firearms may come under scrutiny in Bruce Township due to residential complaints of excess gunfire in their neighborhood.
       During the Board of Trustees Nov. 7 meeting, board members began talks on whether an ordinance will need to be passed to quell the issue of firearm usage in the township.
       A letter sent in from a resident dated Oct. 30 to the board requested a public hearing regarding the discharge of guns in the Lassier Road area.
       Supervisor Jim Tignanelli said aside from the most recent letter, there have been calls in the past about target shooting. However, he recommended the new board look into it when it is sworn into office.
       He said if an ordinance is created or amended there should be a public hearing.
       "You're going to have to do something, even if meaning doing something means we're changing nothing," he said. "I think you're going to have to make that decision or you're going to find yourself in a position of answering this question all the time."
       As precedence, he said the township prohibited the activity in the Orchard Hills subdivision in 2006. He said the Department of Natural Resources had recommended against the action, but the township passed it anyway.
       "Pretty much outside of those four corners we are subject to state and county rules, and they're pretty free to do things," he said.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said she too has responded to several complaints.
       "I think it's more a nuisance at this point, that they don't want to hear the gunfire or that they're afraid when they hear the gunfire," she said.
       Brockmann said a different set of rules apply to target shooting as opposed to hunting in regards to how close it can be done to a home.
       "I recommended the Michigan State Police be called if they thought it was a violation," Brockmann said. "The Michigan State Police didn't find any violation."
       Outside of the meeting, Brockmann said the board will need to determine whether to amend or impose an ordinance that replicates the one for Orchard Hills.
       "We have to be very careful when we consider these types of ordinances, to make sure the desires of the entire township are heard," she said. "This will be very controversial, especially for large parcel owners."
       Trustee Paul Okoniewski, who lives near the area in question, said as far as he knew the Macomb County Sheriff's Office checked out the shooting and had no problems with it, as it was for target practice instead of hunting.
       "I don't know how much we can regulate that," he said. "If anything else, if it's continuous it could be a nuisance."
       He said it might be worth more investigation before adjusting any ordinances.

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