Chesapeake police chief calls meeting to address gun boundaries

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 23:35:23-04

Where you're allowed to use your gun in Chesapeake may be changing -- as will the city ordinance.

The change will mainly impact those who live in rural areas that border more populated areas of the city.

Chesapeake Police Chief K.L. Wright says since September 2015, there have been dozens of gunshots near the border of the boundary, close to populated areas of the city.

According to the Chief, it's a threat to residents.

"We know under the dots [on the map] are residential development and commercial development that are nearby people who are affected, and could be in danger," Chief Wright said.

A meeting was held Wednesday night for community members who would be affected by a boundary change. There was a last minute change of venue to accommodate the large turnout. The Chesapeake City Council chambers were packed. Some of the people impacted are farmers.

Tommy Jones is one of those farmers, and he used his gun to shoot coyotes and raccoons that get into his crops.

"There are a lot of farmers who raise veggies that have smaller acreage. They're going to have raccoons eating their sweet corn, and they can't go out there and shoot them," Jones said.

But, he thinks there's room for compromise with the city.

"We understand completely where the police are having a tough time today. We want to do what we can do to work with them, and maybe we can work something up," he said.

At the meeting, there were breakout sessions for farmers, hunters and target shooters. A livestock farmer voiced his concern about keeping his animals safe.

"Being able to protect my property from a nuisance animal such as a coyote or a fox trying to eat or kill one of my livestock is a concern for me. They're money makers for me and I should be able to protect them as I see fit," said Ryan Rapier, who owns 12.5 acres of land with horses, chickens and more.

A common opinion at the meeting was about the noise complaint and wanting to make sure new rules wouldn't burden those who are already obeying the law.

Bill Rearick, a target shooter said, "Give us more information. If somebody commits a crime and shoots something and five people call it in, that's not a target person out there shooting or somebody with a range. So don't make rules that aren't going to fix anything."

Chief Wright is hoping to find a compromise and was pleased with Wednesday night's meeting.

"A number of them have offered realistic, real tangible solutions, that I think that we can probably pull it all together give it to them and say, what do you agree with, what do you disagree with and how do we move forward?"