Archers beware: Hampstead plans to ban shooting of arrows NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

September 01, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Hampstead is preparing to include bows and arrows in its ordinance barring the shooting of weapons within town limits, Mayor Clint Becker said Monday.

Currently, the ordinance covers only firearms and explosives.

The wording of the proposed change has not been decided, Mayor Becker said. When the change is drafted, he said, it must be checked by the town attorney.

He said the change probably would be ready for introduction at the Sept. 20 council meeting, there could be a public hearing in October and a vote as soon as Oct. 18.

Residents had asked the Town Council June 21 to do something about a Sugar Maple Street man who was practicing archery from his back porch.

At the August council meeting, Councilman Wayne Thomas said he had spoken to the man, who had agreed to practice elsewhere.

"The bottom line is, he's found another place to go," Mr. Thomas said Monday. "He's gone there, and he's perfectly happy."

Mr. Becker said he's unsure whether he favors the proposed change.

"I don't know that it's needed," he said.

He also said he doesn't support creating a town ordinance to cover every possible contingency, and that he would not favor an ordinance crafted so loosely that even the rubber-tipped arrows of a 7- or 8-year-old child would be banned.

However, he said, if there is a legitimate safety concern, an ordinance may be helpful.

"Why not do it now, before somebody gets hurt?" said Councilman Dwight Womer Monday.

Mr. Womer said he checked with the Maryland Municipal League, which sent him information on towns that have laws regulating archery.

"Manchester has one. Mount Airy has one. Sykesville has one. Taneytown has one," he said.

Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Barbara McLeod said Monday that a state natural resources law prohibits hunters from discharging any deadly weapons -- including bows and crossbows -- within 150 yards of a house.

She said the law allows a person to practice shooting within 150 yards of a neighboring home if permission is gotten from neighbors.

If the town had its own law, Mr. Womer said, local police could enforce it and the town would not have to involve the DNR.

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