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Johnston County considering gun noise ban

Posted August 29, 2012
Updated August 30, 2012

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— The Johnston County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote Tuesday on a proposed ordinance that would ban loud gun discharges – a move that some gun owners oppose. 

As it stands now, the county has no law regarding noise from guns, but officials began looking into the matter after a number of complaints about a gun owner in one neighborhood who uses his backyard as a shooting range.

Neighbors say James Whitlock and his wife, who live in the Oak Ridge subdivision near Willow Springs, have fired approximately 3,000 gunshots over a two-month period.

Although sheriff's deputies were called to his home several times, they found he was not breaking any laws.

County attorney David Mills says that some factors under a revised ordinance that would qualify gunshots as being "unreasonably loud" include the proximity to other homes, when they are fired and how frequently.

As the proposed ordinance stands now, first-time violators would face a $50 fine, and repeat offenders could face fines up to $500. If approved, it could go into effect immediately.

"Every citizen of Johnston County wants to be free of unreasonably loud and disturbing noises," he said.

Gun Johnston County considering gun noise ban

Johnston County already has some restrictions on firing guns, including for those who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or for bullets that cross into someone else's property.

Those opposed to changing the noise ordinance say the definition of "unreasonably loud" is subjective.

"It makes you a little nervous," said Robin Canady, who owns Canady Gun Shop in Smithfield. "It seems to take out any opportunity people would have for recreational shooting."

He's also concerned the ordinance could affect sales.

"By passing it, they'll cut out the availability and the amount that other people can shoot for recreation," Canady said. "(That will) slow them down on ammo-buying and therefore not buying guns."

Mills says the ordinance strictly goes after noise complaints and that the county sees it differently.

"Our Board of Commissioners has no desire to put any unnecessary restriction on that right," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • leeloo67 Sep 6, 2012

    First off: this article leaves out something important: Whitlock was arrested on 8/17/12. I live about three miles from Whitlock as the crow flies. First of all, Whitlock lives in a SUBDIVISION on about .4 of an acre. Secondly, he at times has fired constantly starting as early as 5:00am (weekends and weekdays) and going literally all day, day after day. He literally terrorizes his own neighborhood as well as the surrounding multi-mile radius. Thirdly, he was apparently utilizing and firing into the 50-acre wooded lot behind his house because that is the only place he could possibly fire in his subdivision. The owner of the 50 acre property - who did not give him permission to fire into her property - is apparently who had him arrested. Dude needs to get his own land out somewhere or go to a gun club/range if he wants to fire like this.

  • homefree Sep 4, 2012

    All this over one compliant in one neighborhood? That's just crazy. Where is the common sense?

  • Lightfoot3 Sep 4, 2012

    "Wake County has an indoor firing range for use by police and citizens. " - fishon

    Unfortunately, it's a lousy place to shoot. Poor lighting. Poor sound proofing. Poor climate control (i.e. it has NONE!). And poor targets (you actually have to walk out on the range and staple your target to a wooden frame).

  • fishon Aug 31, 2012

    JoCo and Wake need Managed Shooting Ranges.

    Wake County has an indoor firing range for use by police and citizens. http://www.wakegov.com/firingrange/default.htm

    Too bad it costs you per hour to use it, unlike shooting on your own property.

  • Jarrett50caliber Aug 31, 2012

    I live in Johnston County and own a home in a subdivision. I have a wooded lot of about 2 acres that I can shoot on and I do.
    I have no intention of not shooting, whether it be my AK47 or my 45 or shotgun.
    The problem really is all the northern folks moving down here that want to make it like it was "back home".
    Well this is "our home" and we don't really appreciate the interference with southern culture that has gone on for years.
    Johnston County is rural and has always had hunting and shooting.
    Wait until some of those deer start eating their gardens and yards as they do in Smithfield. They will want hunters back then.
    This is a rights issue make no mistake about it.

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 31, 2012

    "Proud of that, are you?" - piene2

    Well, I'm very well educated and I use ain't.

    "ain't ... is flourishing in American English. It is used in both speech and writing to catch attention and to gain emphasis" - merriam-webster.com

  • torchhappysean Aug 31, 2012

    “Its sad that you all can't figure out a way to correct one persons behavior without creating laws for an entire county.” - RM24.... Whats even more sad is that one of the county commissioners is using his athourity to push his or her personal agenda with total disregard for what the public actually thinks.. I cant help but wonder who's buddies with the aforementioned commissioner and complained .

  • piene2 Aug 31, 2012

    "Although widely disapproved as nonstandard and more common in the habitual speech of the less educated,"

    Proud of that, are you? there is also a four letter word starting with the sixth letter of the alphabet in there. I bet you use that one a lot too.

  • Crumps Br0ther Aug 31, 2012

    guess not since he did not use the non word, "ain't."


  • Lightfoot3 Aug 31, 2012

    “I shoot in my back yard in a subdivision and as long as it’s reasonable no one minds. I think only people like this person would run afoul of the proposed law. “ – JoCo Neighbor

    Until some anti-gunner like the likes we see on this forum moves next to you. They’ll complain about ANY gun noise because their ultimate agenda is to get rid of guns.

    “Its sad that you all can't figure out a way to correct one persons behavior without creating laws for an entire county.” - RM24

    Amen! It’s not a noise or gun problem, it’s a SINGLE PERSON problem. And if these new laws are passed, years from now, after this guy has probably moved away and forgotten, responsible gun owners will still be suffering because of what he did.