Ashfield Selectboard hosting forum on gun noise

Staff Writer
Published: 11/13/2022 2:46:47 PM

ASHFIELD — After being rescheduled from October, a public forum about the issue of gun noise will be held on Monday in Town Hall.

No formal decisions will be made at the forum, which will start at 7 p.m. and is hosted by the Selectboard. The idea is to simply provide a platform for residents to have their voices heard about the issue of gun noise. The forum will not have a virtual option.

“I hope everyone who attends who wishes to say something walks away feeling they are heard,” said Stewart “Buz” Eisenberg, an attorney who will moderate the forum.

Gun noise complaints were sparked by an incident on West Road where the landowner has been using his property for target practice. However, the forum is expected to discuss concerns beyond this case.

Initial complaints and meetings pertained to gun noise at 620 West Road, owned by full-time Wellesley resident Jacky K.D. Shi, who comes to Ashfield on weekends for recreational activities. As a result, former Ashfield resident Keith Harmon Snow, who had moved out of Williamsburg after a neighbor started a gun range in the adjacent backyard, went to discuss the problem with Shi at his home in Wellesley. According to Harmon Snow, Shi did not understand his land was in the vicinity of other people’s homes and that they could hear the gun noises. Shi reportedly told Harmon Snow he hopes to work with neighbors in the future.

“He had no idea,” Harmon Snow said. “He wants to be a good neighbor and a good citizen. He is a responsible gun owner.”

The Selectboard, the Ashfield Rod & Gun Club and neighbors reportedly tried to reach Shi before Harmon Snow’s visit, but received no response. 

According to Town Administrator Paul McLatchy III, police officers have explained they are unable to stop anything because the gun noise comes from target practice, which does not fall under the town’s noise ordinances. 

“The property owners were otherwise complying with state gun/shooting laws,” McLatchy wrote in an email.

This conversation has led residents to reconsider adding an additional noise ordinance to the town bylaws. The only noise ordinance in Ashfield, adopted in 1990, prohibits excessive noise between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Lauren Mills, a neighbor who initiated the complaints about gun noise on West Road, plans to detail to forum attendees her proposal for a new ordinance that would address gun, as well as other, noise concerns. Eisenberg explained people will be able to speak about the specific property, guns and noise in general at the forum.

When asked whether Shi will attend, McLatchy said he had written him an email about the forum but has not received a response.

“That being said, they are not obligated to attend,” McLatchy noted. “This forum will happen regardless as it’s not only for that particular property, but the issue of gun noise as a whole.”

To begin the forum, Mills will have a 20-minute presentation with an audio and visual component. Anyone who wishes to speak can do so following Mills’ presentation. Eisenberg explained people can speak for about two minutes each.

Selectboard member Steven Gougeon previously said he expects “there will be some pretty hot opinions” at the forum.

“We are trying to have discussions to find some middle ground,” Gougeon said.

“We have good town meetings,” Eisenberg said. “I expect this will be a useful sharing of perspectives. We have every reason to think it will be a healthy, vibrant, respectful conversation. Our town officials should listen very carefully.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or


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