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Neighbor shooting firearms close to our property

I live on about an acre of land in a relatively rural suburb in Massachusetts. One of the things we love most about our home is the privacy. We have protected wetland property that extends for a quarter of a mile between our house and our neighbor. However, our neighbor goes into this protected property and shoots off various firearms. They claim to be skeet shooting however, I am 100% aware of a few facts one the neighbor is less than 500 feet from my property, the neighbor is consuming alcohol while shooting the firearm, there are several people who are invited to shoot these guns who don't have permits and it's completely infringing on my quality of life. We have small children and I will not allow them outside because I am fearful they will be shot. The skeet shooting has been happening for years on Thanksgiving Morning, Christmas Day at 9AM, and all Summer Long and it goes on for on average 5 hours at a time without rest.

The noise level of the gun firing is easily over the 3 decibel ordinance. The problem is when I call the local police they tell me they can be as close to my property as they want, that noise ordinances don't apply during day hours, and that they refuse to investigate. The neighbor who is shooting the guns is part of a family that has been a member of the town for generations (over 150 years) and even has a street and baseball field named after the namesake -- so clearly the police's unwillingness to help us stems from political allegiances rather than following the actual law. I feel so helpless, like a prisoner in my own home, we have this beautiful back yard and the children are afraid to play in it. The time at my house is so precious - between working 50 hours a week or more coupled with hours of commuting I'm rarely even able to enjoy the comfort of my own home, especially on a beautiful day and I can't even sit outside the noise is so deafening and frightening. I fear for my safety and despite paying astronomical taxes the police refuse to help. Any advice on how I can deal with this problem would be greatly appreciated and welcome.

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Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section, Section 12E specifically prohibits the discharge of firearms within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling. However, as you may know, there is an exception for those using outdoor skeet, trap, target or test ranges.  Sadly, I know very little about the gun laws in Massachusetts, but I find it difficult to believe that a person can establish a shooting range on his property without some type of local government approval or license.  Further, even if your neighbor has obtained such a license, surely the activities you describe violate the terms of that license (drinking, unlicensed shooter).  If you cannot get any local authorities to help you out with this issue, you might try contacting the Attorney General's office at (617) 727-2200 to see if they can offer any guidance.  Or, you could talk to a local Massachusetts attorney who is familiar with land use law.  Nuisance?  Wetlands violations?  I don't know, but it's worth a call.  Good luck.



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