No Longer Appropriate

Littering and disturbing the peace is illegal, unless you happen to have been firing a gun
Phyllis Morgano gathered up these shell casing during one morning walk on Navy Road Beach.

You know the sound. It’s a lovely weekend afternoon and suddenly you hear the thudding of shotgun blasts. A small group is off in the distance target shooting. When you check the beach later, it is covered with spent casings and fragments of orange-and-black clay pigeons. You are outraged at the mess and the double standard — littering and disturbing the peace is illegal, unless you happen to have been firing a gun. 

That is what one of our readers must have thought when she gathered up a large quantity of shotgun shells and plastic wadding at Fort Pond Bay in Montauk recently and sent us a photograph. Beach walkers in Amagansett might also be puzzled at the noise from Albert’s Landing. A call to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reveals that nothing can be done. Regulations allow for such things so long as the shooters are at least 500 feet from a house and, supposedly, clean up after themselves.

It was one thing when a few year-rounders did some shooting once in a while. But now, with eastern Long Island increasingly crowded, what made sense back then does not necessarily make sense anymore. Thought should be given to whether non-hunting shooting by the few should be limited to ranges, leaving our beaches and open spaces for quiet, leave-no-trace enjoyment. Unfortunately, perhaps, that time may have come.