TOPSHAM, Maine — For nearly 20 years, Brunswick police have shared Topsham’s gun range, but now they’ve been asked to find another place to shoot.
Police in both towns admit that this has been an especially busy year at the gun range, and all those gunshots have gotten on the nerves of two neighbors who live within earshot of the range.
When target practicing at a gun range, officers wear ear protection, but two neighbors who live near the Topsham Gun Range say this year, the noise became unbearable.
Mary Strout says it’s impossible for young children to nap.
“It seems like hundreds, because they’re going through a box or more of bullets,” Strout said.
Ed Caron runs the Topsham Transfer Station where the range is located.
“For us, it’s not a problem,” Caron said. “We’re used to it. “
Two other neighbors say the noise doesn’t bother them, but it does bother the Strouts, who say the noise is much worse since the criminal justice academy closed due to the pandemic.
Brunswick and Topsham police had no choice but to use this range for all their training and certifications.
“The shooting was being done in accordance with the terms of the permits given for the firing range over the years, but just the volume was bothering them,” Topsham Assistant Town Manager Mark Waltz said.
“Well, we try to be good neighbors,” Brunswick Police Chief Scott Stewart said. “Guns are loud, and I understand somebody not wanting it in their backyard, but I do understand also that we do have to train.”
As a result of the complaints, town leaders in Topsham have officially asked Brunswick to find their own gun range.
“This is not going to affect our relationship at all,” Stewart said. “It’s an obstacle that we’ll have to overcome.”
Brunswick police can still use the gun range for now.
The town of Topsham has given Brunswick six months to come up with a plan to find or build their own gun range.
Mary Strout says with just Topsham police, it won’t be quite so bad.