York Co. gun club targets land owner with proposed bill at statehouse

    Northern York County Rod & Gun Club

    WEST NEWFIELD (WGME) -- A York County gun club is targeting a nearby landowner with proposed legislation at the statehouse, after officials said he used a loophole in the law to try to shut them down.

    Anthony Garrity said he bought his piece of land in 2013, about a half mile from his home in West Newfield.

    "I burn wood to heat my house and I walk my dogs," he said. "I recreate outside a lot."

    The property is a stone's throw away from The Northern York County Rod & Gun Club.

    "It's about 150 feet away right here," said Garrity.

    Garrity said he expected the noise, but calls the lack of safety a "surprise."

    "From here, I can see the gap in the trees. There's no berms," he said.

    Garrity said he's had to leave at times, for fear of being shot. In 2015, he asked the board of directors if they could compromise by closing during certain hours. He said they turned him down, and authorities couldn't do anything either.

    "They said that no laws were being broken," said Garrity. " I have hunted in the past. I was familiar with the 300 foot law, so I said, 'Well, l'll give them a law that's being broken.'"

    Garrity built a small cabin, because Maine law says firearms can't be discharged within 100 yards of a building or dwelling, or cause a projectile to pass as a result of that discharge, without permission from the owner.

    Lou Polianites, the president of the gun club, declined an interview, but spoke with CBS 13 over the phone. He said they shut down the range voluntarily last summer to make safety improvements recommended by the York County Sheriff's Office.

    Chief Deputy Tom Baran confirms the closure was voluntary.

    Polianites said safety is the top priority and they've spent $2,000 repairing berms, posting signs, and reduced the length of the shooting area.

    He also said they're firing back at Garrity with a proposed bill at the statehouse.

    LD 79 would allow guns to be fired on a sport shooting range within 100 yards of a building, if the range was there first.

    Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham, is sponsoring the legislation. He said, "I put in the bill with the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine to close a loophole in the law that would allow a person to put a building next to a pre-existing shooting range with the intent to shut it down."

    "I thought it was criminal," said Garrity. "I don't see how they can circumvent a safety law just based on a time thing."

    Corey said the bill has been written and will next head to the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife committee.

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