On Nov. 19, I attended the Jefferson County Planning Commission’s meeting on the development of a county code that would regulate the establishment of commercial shooting ranges in Jefferson County. I understand that Jefferson County is prudently advised to prepare for lawsuits from those whose intent is simply to bully the county into enactment of a fearsome public policy. I applaud the county’s effort to resist such aggressive pressure.
Policemen and soldiers need firearms training, no doubt. But Jefferson County is not responsible for training other jurisdictions’ policemen or soldiers, only its own law enforcement personnel. And it’s certainly no American’s civic responsibility to train pseudo-military forces in acts of killing just so private businesses can reap profits at the cost of further militarizing civilian life in America.
To sacrifice either the environmental integrity of Jefferson County or the possibility of a civilized, peaceful life in any community in the county to the altar of firearm preparedness would be a moral travesty. It would be comparable, for instance, to Jefferson County agreeing to dispose within its boundaries significant quantities of garbage or toxic waste generated in another county or country, no matter the consequences for county residents of doing so.
Just as a nation must be willing to invest in the defense of itself against foreign aggression, Jefferson County must be willing to do the same against attempts to corrupt its core mission — to assure that its residents live in as much peace and prosperity as it practicable. County commissioners may lose their jobs in the process, but county residents have immeasurably more to lose in the bargain.
At the Nov. 19 meeting, I heard a majority of planning commission members express numerous proposals for deflecting the injurious possibility that any new commercial shooting range could be established within hearing range of any community in Jefferson County, or one that would undermine the health of streams, forests and rural farmlands. Please heed the wisdom and justice of these citizen proposals. Does any county commissioner doubt how a majority of Jefferson County residents would vote on the matter if allowed to do so?