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Village to look at the discharge of firearms

By Ben Rodgers
Staff Writer

HOBART – Village officials are aiming for another look at rules and regulations for discharging firearms in the boundaries of the village.

“We had a case where a resident asked for permission to discharge a weapon and was denied, and previously this Thanksgiving we had an instance where a person discharged a weapon and it went through a home. We avoided a tragedy by what, a foot?” said Aaron Kramer, village administrator.

According to Randy Bani, police chief, a man in Hobart was sighting his rifle on his property on Thanksgiving. When it discharged a bullet went through three walls of a nearby home, and narrowly missed hitting one of three children inside the house at the time.

“However we do this they’re still responsible for that round,” Bani said. “I don’t know why we need to go through a huge process to decide who can hunt and who can’t hunt around here. The end result is they have to be responsible for their round.”

Previously the village had a weapons discharge committee tasked with bringing the board suggestions.

It also has a map that resembles a checkerboard for approved hunting locations.

Village President Rich Heidel said before discussion can start a group needs to be identified for looking into the issue.

“Before we decide what an ordinance should look like, we need to decide what the appropriate chartered body to promulgate such an ordinance is,” Heidel said.

Kramer stressed that whatever direction the village takes, it will have to progress carefully.

“Any direction we go you’re going to have people here that don’t like the direction we go,” he said. Bottom line, we’re going to tiptoe through a minefield here as we do this.”

Heidel agreed with Kramer on the how delicate the situation will become.

“As long as there is a school playground somewhere, there’s going to be tension,” he said. “You’re right we have to walk on eggshells here.”

Heidel spoke highly of the work planning and zoning does. He also said if that commission was tasked with this, it is unlikely people will join it to discuss gun rights for a month, and zoning plats for the other 11 months of the year.

Kramer said the fact that Hobart is rapidly growing will create a tough battle regardless.

“The village is growing, by leaps and bounds,” he said. “We’re going to run into those conflicts with urbanized areas that are melding into the wild section of Hobart. They’re essentially neighbors. Whatever we do we always have to be cognizant of the fact we have an urbanized citizenry.”

The board agreed to look into other municipalities in the area to find out what commission they use to handle situations like this.

In other news the board got a sneak preview of the new website.

Hopefully if everything goes to plan, it will be active on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day.

The site will be revamped with drone footage from the village, as well as contain easier to find links for village officials, government and any documents residents may need.

Moreover, it will include an updated community calendar feature and a comprehensive archive of meeting minutes.

“This is a moving, living object so this will constantly get updated as things change,” said Erica Hilbert, municipal clerk, editor of Hobart Headlines and website designer.

Kramer said by keeping the job in house, the new website will cost significantly less than if the village went with a private company to do the work.

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