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Enforcement Neighbor shooting guns... who enforces covenants

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
I live in a county where there are no rules for shooting guns. I had no idea! I live in a regular neighborhood not in the country our lots are 70 by 80 feet to give an idea of the size.
My neighbor who is renting the house just bought a gun and with no rules for guns is shooting his gun into a pallet from his deck with the our local road not far behind it! I told the sheriff about it and he said he could do nothing.
I said you dont care he is shooting towards the road, Nope. That he is 10 feet from house shooting a 45 calib gun and wears ear protection because it is so loud, Nope.He said he can only do something if he kills or shoots someone.
My neighborhood does have a covenance against doing loud obnoxious and alot of other adjectives that I believe would cover this. Who do you think would enforce this if not the police? Any ideas on what I can do?
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
29,467
Points
73
Yes, the neighborhood association may have authority to file a civil suit. That is, if the association is still active (many are not). I would suggest the association contact an attorney to advise them on this matter.

Also, I disagree there are no county rules prohibiting your neighbors actions. Lincoln County does have a noise ordinance. http://www.lincolncounty.org/Archive/ViewFile/Item/57

Section 2. LOUD, RAUCOUS AND DISTURBING NOISE. It shall be
unlawful for any person or group of persons, regardless of number, to willfully make or
cause to be made any loud, raucous and disturbing noise, which term shall mean any
sound which, because of its volume level, duration and character, annoys, disturbs,
injures or endangers the comfort, health, peace or safety of reasonable persons of
ordinary sensibilities within the limits of the County of Lincoln. The term “loud, raucous
and disturbing noise” shall be limited to loud, raucous and disturbing noises heard upon
the public streets, in any public park, in any school or public building or upon the
grounds thereof while in use, in any church or hospital or upon the grounds thereof while
in use, upon any parking lot open to members of the public as invitees or licensees, or in
any occupied residential unit which is not the source of the noise or upon the grounds
thereof.

Any chance you can hear the gunshots from the public street?
 

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
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0
Thank you for looking that up but if you keep looking it was voted down. There has been many attempts over the years to do something about people shooting guns in residential areas but there are 5 county commissioners and only two are in populated areas so no ordinance ever passes. One in 2008 saying you had to be 500 feet away was voted down the NRA flooded the room with people and said NC had state laws to make people shoot safely but there not a single law about shooting safely in the NC state laws. The noise ordinance you found did not pass when it did pass they had to say guns did not count. They tried again last year here is a link to it http://www.lincolncounty.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/690 and it again did not pass. It is unbelievably dangerous for people to shoot where ever they want any direction they want.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,420
Points
53
My county has similar laws about shooting. It's fair game. Granted, I don't have a lot of smaller lots like yours. Most are 3 acres or more. There is nothing our sheriff can or will do about it. If you can't get the noise laws enforced, try talking to the county commissioners to get a law passed about not shooting within say 500 feet of someone else's house. I'll warn you, this was tried in my county and everyone went crazy about gun rights so nothing happened, but it's worth a try.

If you have a working association or something, sometimes a properly worded cease and desist letter works. You'll need the attorney for that one.
 

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
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0
sorry if this gets posts twice I thought i responded.
Thanks for looking that up but that was not passed. They added that guns were no included when it was updated. We live in a county that has rural and residential areas. 3 reps are from the country and 2 from residential areas. They tried 500 feet law in 2008 but it was not passed the NRA flooded the room and said that NC has laws to enforce safe firing of gun but there is not a single law in NC state law. Then last year they tried the noise ordinance again to include guns. http://www.lincolncounty.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/690 It was voted down again. It sucks because every time they try to pass something the Sheriff says he can not enforce it. No kidding every county that surrounds us has a rule between 100 and 500 feet. I am going to go there in a couple weeks and bring it up and see if they wont do like firing within 50 feet of a house. I mean really who could argue with that.

I hope this does not post three times it has not shown up each time.
The noise ordinance did not pass. What you saw was an update and they added guns not included. Last year 2014 it was tried again to include guns for noise and was voted down.
They tried in 2008 to pass the 500 feet law but it would not pass the NRA flooded the room and said NC has rules but there is not a single state law.
Problem is our county has 3 rural and 2 residential so they will never pass it. Also the everytime they bring it up they say we will have to talk to the sheriff and he says
he can not enforce it. That is crazy every county that surrounds ours has something either 100 or 500.
This guy is a renter and we do have that covenant maybe I can bluff the rental company as they live several counties away tell them we have this covenant and the county will enforce it which one of the county commissioners said is true. They have online that the citations go up higher higher as they are charged. but this is really directed more towards zoning laws but it does say covenant rules as well so we will see.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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29,467
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73
Thank you for looking that up but if you keep looking it was voted down. There has been many attempts over the years to do something about people shooting guns in residential areas but there are 5 county commissioners and only two are in populated areas so no ordinance ever passes. One in 2008 saying you had to be 500 feet away was voted down the NRA flooded the room with people and said NC had state laws to make people shoot safely but there not a single law about shooting safely in the NC state laws. The noise ordinance you found did not pass when it did pass they had to say guns did not count. They tried again last year here is a link to it http://www.lincolncounty.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/690 and it again did not pass. It is unbelievably dangerous for people to shoot where ever they want any direction they want.

The language I cited above was adopted (by 4-1) back in 2007. Unless it was subsequently repealed, it's still on the books. I understand the county failed to further amend the ordinance in 2014 by adopting specific standards for firearms, but that isn't the same as exempting firearms from being considered a "loud, raucous, and disturbing noise." In other words, section 2 is still on the books and rather than having specific standards for firearms (which was rejected) you instead have the 'reasonable man' standard referenced in section 2 still enforceable. I'm sure most 'reasonable men' would not find firearms discharge on distant neighbors properties in a rural setting to be disturbing, but a reasonable man would likely find 190 decibels disturbing his peace when it's 40 feet away. This actually gives the sheriff some discretion to determine where it is or isn't appropriate to enforce the noise standards.

If the Sheriff refuses to enforce the ordinance as its written, then there probably is not much you can do in that direction, but before you give up on the sheriff, I would at least try to explain it to him as I have tried to do here. Good luck.
 

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,231
Points
25
My understanding is that any sort of protective covenant has to enforced civilly (not through the administrative government services) since it's typically a breach of a contract that you agreed to when you purchased that property. You do need to check to see if there was a sunset clause on the covenants, though. Sometimes there's one for 20 years from the time it was recorded, for example. If there isn't, then you need a lawyer. If he's a new neighbor, he may not even be aware that such a covenant is on the property. Best case scenario, a lawyer writes him a letter explaining it and he stops. Worse case scenario, you end up in court to try to enforce it.

We have a no-shoot zone covering all of our residentially zoned properties, and also do not allow shooting within a certain distance of a dwelling (500 ft. I believe). We also have regulations against shooting across a state right-of-way that i'm pretty sure are from the state code. Funny, though, that this does not actually cover bow-hunting. It ONLY covers firearms. We had that issue come up recently, but I don't think we want to go back and revisit it right now given the current political climate.
 

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,231
Points
25
That's all enforced by the Sheriff's office, but we help them out if there are any questions about the zoning.
 

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
Thanks for looking it up

But dont you think this part would negate the firearm sound? Letter C
thank you again for your attention to this problem


EXEMPTED ACTIVITIES.
Specifically exempted from this subchapter are the following:
(A) All noise generated in the normal day-to-day operations of any otherwise lawful commercial, industrial enterprise or government facility (provided that the noise may only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.), or in the usual and customary activities of civic or community organizations, including holiday observances and any other occasional or ceremonial activities.
(B) All noise generated in the normal day-to-day operations of any otherwise lawful farm.
(C) All noise that would otherwise be considered a loud, raucous or disturbing noise generated by the use of a firearm by the owner, licensee or invitee on the property, provided either:
(1) Said use occurs between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and is otherwise lawful; or
(2) Said use was essential, in the person's reasonable estimation, for the purpose of lawfully defending person or property from attack, or for disposing of or destroying certain destructive animals, fowl, birds, reptiles or insects that are a menace to public health and have become a nuisance upon the person's premises.
(Ord. passed - -; Ord. passed 12-4-2006; Ord. passed 6-6-2014)
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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29,467
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73
But dont you think this part would negate the firearm sound? Letter C
thank you again for your attention to this problem


EXEMPTED ACTIVITIES.
Specifically exempted from this subchapter are the following:
(A) All noise generated in the normal day-to-day operations of any otherwise lawful commercial, industrial enterprise or government facility (provided that the noise may only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.), or in the usual and customary activities of civic or community organizations, including holiday observances and any other occasional or ceremonial activities.
(B) All noise generated in the normal day-to-day operations of any otherwise lawful farm.
(C) All noise that would otherwise be considered a loud, raucous or disturbing noise generated by the use of a firearm by the owner, licensee or invitee on the property, provided either:
(1) Said use occurs between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and is otherwise lawful; or
(2) Said use was essential, in the person's reasonable estimation, for the purpose of lawfully defending person or property from attack, or for disposing of or destroying certain destructive animals, fowl, birds, reptiles or insects that are a menace to public health and have become a nuisance upon the person's premises.
(Ord. passed - -; Ord. passed 12-4-2006; Ord. passed 6-6-2014)

Guess I didn't see the adoption of that amendment online. But if that's the most current version, then obviously that would exempt firearms. Which takes you back to either getting the association to file suit or nothing is to stop you personally from filing suit in small claims, seeking either money damages or an abatement order (and I am assuming you've already spoken to the neighbor and asked them to stop unsuccessfully).
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,589
Points
54
You mentioned that the house is a rental? Perhaps you may try contacting the property owner, inform him of the situation, and explain that you were intending to go to the neighborhood association to pursue enforcement of the HOA regulations, but out of respect, you decided to contact him/her first. I think most property owners would not want this type of activity going on within the confines of a traditional residential development. I can't fathom the liability of something like this, especially being that a 40+ caliber can penetrate the wood on a pallet without much issue.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
7,167
Points
40
This happens all the time here, and I'm not too far from Lincoln County. The sheriff cannot prevent this. It's not just your sheriff not wanting to do anything, they literally cannot. We discussed this at a town hall meeting with our Sheriff several months ago. Law enforcement can get involved if there is property damage or physical injury though.

Private covenants are generally not upheld by local governments in this state. If your subdivision has private covenants, it is the responsibility of the Homeowners Association to provide enforcement action. Lincoln County most likely has no authority to enforce private covenants, so I would take what your commissioner said with a grain of salt.
 

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
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0
yea I thought that was a little weird when the commish said that the Building and Inspection dept would enforce it. But when you look at the covenants that come with the deed everything that is listed comes under zoning, well everything except this important part-----------------no noxious or offensive activity shall be carried upon any lot, nor shall anything be permitted which may become a nuisance or annoyance.
Dont you think it is strange that it seems like so many sheriffs can not do anything and seem to say I wish we could help? When you look at the 3 times I have found online that Lincoln County tried to pass it the Commissioners every single time said we need to talk to the sheriff about if he can enforce it blah blah. Then the next month they come back and say that he felt it could not be enforced. Every county that borders us has a distance of shooting and they seem to have no problems. Even the noise law he said the could not figure out how to work the machine. I think the sheriffs dont want this law because it would be more work for them.
Has anyone else tried to pass something like this.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,420
Points
53
We tried to pass something like this in my Kansas county. To me it would be stupid not to have a law saying no shooting within X feet of a house, but here are the problems we faced:

1. It's my land and I'll do what I want attitude
2. VERY pro gun community that doesn't recognize shooting from your back porch at tannerite targets as a problem
3. Most of the pro shooting people have several acres of land and no neighbors so they don't understand it's a problem for houses that are closer together
4. Most people didn't realize the rule would only affect places where the houses were close together and not the more rural areas
5. The commissioners really didn't want to handle such a touchy issue like gun rights
6. The sheriff (also elected) wasn't going to support anti gun laws - it wasn't an enforcement problem

For us, after a year of arguing about what could be done, the answer was nothing, because no one would propose a law to fix it. When they did propose a law it was shot down pretty quick and we went back to wondering what could be done. In our case, nothing unless you get some elected leaders with the balls to make things right. My advice, do your best to frame this as a nuisance and not a gun rights thing. It's about peace and quiet in your neighborhood, not about limiting people's right to shoot. Even then you're not going to when the NRA to your side, but maybe you can get a law passed.

Another option, start some kind of proposition to get people to vote on it and not the county commission. Then focus on city people who might understand the need to not shoot so close to a neighbor and hope to out do the NRA save the poor guns campaign.

I should point out, for my county they are a little more responsible. They tend to have 3 acres of land and build private shooting ranges with a backstop like a berm. My only problem is the tannerite going boom. They use a bit too much.
 

shell_waster

Cyburbian
Messages
243
Points
10
My issue is not the noise but the shear danger of discharging a firearm into a pallet. I'm pro-gun but also anti-stupid. The most important aspects of gun safety is, 1) muzzle control (knowing where your gun is pointed); 2) treat all guns as if they are loaded; 3) know what is beyond your intended target (bullets travel through targets and can also ricochet); and 4) never point a gun, much less pull the trigger, unless your absolutely, positively and willing to destroy your target.

With all that said, my concern is where is that bullet going once it leaves the barrel of his gun? I don't know the laws in Colorado but where I am you can legally obtain a suppressor for your firearm and if that is the case in Colorado maybe he can pass the federal background check, pay the tax and buy a suppressor which will alleviate your noise concern/nuisance but it doesn't resolve the matter of where that bullet is going. If it was my issue I would address the sheriff with a public safety/reckless conduct concern and not a nuisance concern. Even if the resident has a bullet trap and adequate earthen berm behind the trap there is still the issue of the distance he is firing towards a public road.
 

AG74683

Cyburbian
Messages
7,167
Points
40
yea I thought that was a little weird when the commish said that the Building and Inspection dept would enforce it. But when you look at the covenants that come with the deed everything that is listed comes under zoning, well everything except this important part-----------------no noxious or offensive activity shall be carried upon any lot, nor shall anything be permitted which may become a nuisance or annoyance.

Doesn't matter what the covenants say. We could have covenants here that explicitly direct my department to enforce them, but that would have absolutely zero legal binding effect on us. Covenants are completely private, civil arrangements, no matter how they read.
 

volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
This may give you a better idea of what I am dealing with.
I made a of video looking out my bedroom window. You can see he drinks his beer and pours I guess what is left out.
The second half of the video got taped sideways because I turned it sideways. Excuse the messy room I was cleaning up.
I sent this to my local commis. and he said he wanted to come out and see what the area looked like. So there maybe hope.
I know yall agree with me but it makes me feel better to get others the feel that I am not crazy thinking this is out of line.
but I thought I would share how close the houses are. We have a creek that people can canoe a pond and the street is across the road.
The trees in the pic may look like trees but they are brush also the houses close together are mine and renters..
house law6.jpg
below is the youtube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MlwujaPFEw&feature=youtu.be
 

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volleybiggs

Member
Messages
7
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0
Oh I and I agree with safety being most important not the noise. The police in the past have said they can not learn and figure out or determine what is a safe target or back stop and they can not enforce what is considered loud and they can not learn to work the machine for decibels so they do not get behind it. I think distance is the only thing that will work at least in my case since the guy is about 10-15 feet from my house. What policeman can not determine what is 100 feet away.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,571
Points
28
Guy is being an ass. Gives us gun owners a bad reputation. He knows it bugs the neighbors and is probably doing to for just that reason.
 

skeptic

Member
Messages
1
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0
Problem with Neighbors abusing others with gunfire



I read with interest those posts from some who share a problem with myself. Let me say I am from Vermont, retired to South Carolina more than ten years ago.
At the time we had a quiet neighborhood, outside of the teenage party boom boxes.
At that time a problematic neighbor was renting a home from a person who had inherited a community of subdivision rentals when his father passed.
The homes were sold separately and we are all easily within 400 feet of each other.

Later the neighbor who also is a dog nut case, bought a small place within three hundred feet of my home. We all own our home or pay banks with a mortgage .

Soon he constructed a huge dog breeding shack and began discharging weapons. Pistol and even shot guns. He does this at random times, but even on Sundays.
I am retired and here most of the time. He is on some disability income and says he has a heart condition, but look at how he spends his time.

He has made direct threats to me and even said this was my last warning. He has an anti social bully personality.

Problem is our county Spartanburg says its his right to shoot whenever, and as long as he wishes. He just can't shoot a me or my house. Like Duhh.
The county council just decided to not act on restricting firearm discharges in residential areas. What this gives him is an open license to do what ever he pleases.

In November he discharged guns 20 different days. Some sounded like high powered rifles.
To my knowledge he is not required to certify he is even discharging in a safe manner, which in such a close space, would be impossible.

So the county powers that be do not care to act as long as the shots are not in their backyard.
But, now we are told wear ear plugs and duck and cover if you hear shots.

This whole business is asinine and out of control. Why is it only gun owner have rights?

Sad and mad in South Carolina
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,420
Points
53
Sadly counties very rarely regulate shooting because you have to hunt somewhere. Which then ignores people who live in residential pockets. Sadly in my county (Kansas) the elected officials aren't going to take a stand even to regulate shooting within X feet of a house. Not much you can do except try to get the ear of an elected official bold enough to do something.

On the other hand you might want to see if dog breeding kennels is any kind of zoning violation. Doesn't solve the gun problem, but maybe someone can give him hell over the dog thing. Not likely he would move though. Also 50/50 odds on having zoning that covers kennels.
 
Messages
1
Points
0
Thankfully in Lincoln county NC. we can fire our weapons on our own property and certainly do not need any laws restricting us from doing just that. There will always be morons who have no regard for the safety or well being of others regardless of how many restrictive measures are taken. I spent six years in the US Army Military Police Corp and know full well what each of my weapons are capable of. I enjoy shooting my weapons in my yard from time to time as do many others in my area with no complaints from anyone. However I do fear that we may very well lose the freedom that we enjoy someday and maybe soon because of the anti-gun lobbyist in America and all the erroneous blame attributed to guns.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Moderator
Messages
19,147
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70
I have to ask "what kind of shooting?" and "what state?" Many states, if not most, have safety zone laws that prohibit shooting within a certain distance of a dwelling or occupied building, except for self-defense. For example, in New York, there's a 500' safety zone around residential and farm buildings, schools, playgrounds. factories, places of worship or assembly, or other occupied structures. (You also can't shoot over a public highway.) However, there's a few exceptions, one being if you own or lease the structure in use, you can shoot within 500' of it. You still can't violate the safety zone of other buildings, though. Some states might have laws with safety zone exceptions for shooting ranges built to certain specifications.

If your neighbor is doing some wild-ass yeehaw celebratory aerial gunfire, with no target in mind, that's illegal practically everywhere. Bullets can fall through a roof and kill somebody. Keep a camera on hand, document it immediately, and call the cops. File a criminal complaint.

If your HOA and local law enforcement won't address illegal shooting, you can sue for damages -- the drop in value from being next to a shooting range, supplemental damages to health / welfare / ability to enjoy the property, and so on. You'd have to document the shooting activity to back up any claims -- not just recording discharge times on paper, but with a camera running 24-7, with a microphone recording it. Maybe photos of cartridges that are clearly on the ground on their property, and definitely NOT made through trespass. Depending on the community where you live, be ready for backlash from Second Amendment purists.

(For what it's worth, I live in a low density suburban / rural transition area. I seldom hear gunfire, but on the first day of deer hunting season, it sounds like a battle off in the distance. I think of it as a sound of a season, kind of like Mister Softee trucks in the summer, or scraping plows in the winter. I'd probably think differently if I lived next door to this.)
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,571
Points
28
While I am a firearms owner, shooting in what you describe to me as a residential neighborhood is nuts and wrong and gives owners a bad reputation. Is he swigging beer at the same time?
 
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