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Old July 16, 2010, 11:47 PM   #1
riverwalker76
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Kentucky Residents ... Your Rights Are At Stake

This is not about pending legislation or possible bills. This is something more serious. This is a possible lawsuit that could affect Court Decisions in lawsuits for years to come.


Some of you followed my thread awhile back where my neighbor was complaining about me firing my weapons on my property. I only fire them once every 2 or 3 weeks, here at my home, and for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Anything more than that, and I go down the road to a farmer's property who said I can shoot there. The point is ... I have a legal right to shoot on my property, and I am outside the city limits. There is no ordinance that states that I cannot do this.

Here is the previous thread ... http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=410661

I now have a letter from the Daviess County Attorney where this individual has filed a complaint against me. I have spoken to my attorney and responded to the letter in my own words.

My attorney is a gun lover as well, and he thinks that if the neighbor pushes the matter any further, and takes me to court, that the outcome could affect everyone's right to fire on their property in Kentucky. So, basically ... what my Attorney is telling me is that if this individual pushes it far enough, and he wins .... it could affect the outcome of many other lawsuits in Kentucky and spur further legislation against gun owners and their rights on their own property.

If you would like to see the official complaint that the neighbor filed against me .. I will gladly post it as proof. Please ... just ask, and I will scan and post it here.

Also, there are other suits in my county that are possibly going to affect gun owner's rights on their property. The latest being the following complaint against the local Police Department who has a firing range close to where I live.

Here is the article ... http://www.14wfie.com/global/story.asp?s=10998902

What are your thoughts?
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Old July 17, 2010, 09:11 AM   #2
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I think that if you have buckets overflowing with money then you should take on this idiot neighbor. Perhaps with a harassment lawsuit or something similar. There are always high stakes if you lose, and high stakes if you win.

I assume you're just one of us normal people though and don't have buckets of money. Therefor, you cease shooting on your property.

However, as I recall, this same neighbor does not complain when your other neighbor shoots. Something needs to be done about that situation. It's either OK for you both or it's not for you both.

All I know is that in upstate NY the situation would be easy. If the guy complained about you shooting then the police would come out to your property, probably with a laser range finder, they would measure the distance from where you shoot to your neighbors house and if it was 500.1 feet they'd tell the neighbor to kiss off. I guess that's why NY is considered so anti-gun?
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Old July 17, 2010, 09:46 AM   #3
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Wait.... a few more late breaking thoughts...


This guy would have to file a lawsuit, would he not? What are the odds that he'd take it that far? Can he even afford to do it? It's not like he's going to win money. No lawyer is going to take the case for a future payday.

Have you talked to the other neighbor who shoots also? If the jerk makes you stop then it makes him stop too. That can't make him too happy.

Also, it was recommended in the previous thread that you find out exactly what the ordinances are. Have you done that? I know you say that you have "the legal right", but what exactly are the ordinances?

It was also recommended that you speak directly with the sheriff. Have you done that?
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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RW, so the neighbor has already filed a complaint in court? What does it allege as the cause of action (i.e., what statute or ordinance does it allege you have violated)?

DD
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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I ain't from Missouri, but I'm raising the BS flag on this one. I fail to see how a neighbor complaining about firearms being shot legally on your property would result in the right of ALL Kentuckians to legally shoot on their properties being abrogated.
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:37 AM   #6
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I spoke to the Sheriff, and he is on my side. The neighbor complained to the Sheriff so much that the Sheriff told him that I could bring harassment charges against HIM.

As far as I know there is no ordinance at all regarding firing weapons in the county. There is no definition that I know of.
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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I'd stop shooting .

From the linked post:
Because if he is "even if he is burning tires in his backyard on his burn pile."

Every time he burns something call the E.P.A.

They will bankrupt him , he will than have to move, than you can start shooting again.
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:41 AM   #8
riverwalker76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogoDon
RW, so the neighbor has already filed a complaint in court? What does it allege as the cause of action (i.e., what statute or ordinance does it allege you have violated)?

DD
He cited KRS 525.070 and stated ....

"Under Kentucky law if you intend to harass, annoy, or alarm another person by engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and that conduct serves no legitimate purpose, the Commonwealth could charge you with Harassment."

That's what he claims.
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:45 AM   #9
riverwalker76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csmsss
I ain't from Missouri, but I'm raising the BS flag on this one. I fail to see how a neighbor complaining about firearms being shot legally on your property would result in the right of ALL Kentuckians to legally shoot on their properties being abrogated.
It's called a Precedent Court Ruling. That is what a lot of judges place their decisions on when making up their minds about common suits or disputes. If a judge in Louisville made a similar decision against a landowner then it would give the Plaintiff ammunition in a Court of Law.

It's really complicated, but it is how the legal system works.

Sorry, but not shooting is not an option.

One of the reasons I moved out here was because of the lax firearms laws. Put yourself in my shoes. What would you do if a neighbor tried to force you to do something, on your own property, that you didn't want to do?
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
"Under Kentucky law if you intend to harass, annoy, or alarm another person by engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and that conduct serves no legitimate purpose, the Commonwealth could charge you with Harassment."

That's what he claims.
There are several elements to the law above which must be proven, one of which will be extremely difficult to prove (intent), and the other impossible (no legitimate purpose). Shooting firearms on your own property is a perfectly legitimate activity that can easily be demonstrated as such. Your neighbor has no case, and no prosecutor would even consider taking it forward.
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Old July 17, 2010, 10:59 AM   #11
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If the sheriff is on your side and the only law or ordinance that the guy can cite is the one you quoted, I'd tell him where to stick it. Actually, I'd ignore him, and if he continued to cause problems, I would sue him.

In fact, your past that point, in my opinion. I would have my lawyer file a "cease and desist", injunction, whatever it's called, and then I'd go out back and shoot, and not for 20 minutes. I'd be sighting in every gun I own.
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Old July 17, 2010, 12:37 PM   #12
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Well peetzakilla ... I see your point, but I really don't want to annoy the guy.

I'm not a mean spirited person, and I don't want to get revenge or anything like that. You know what they say about revenge. "When you seek revenge ... go ahead and dig two graves!".

In other words ... if I were intending to annoy this guy then it would eventually backfire on me and cause me more problems. I don't want to annoy him. I just want to exercise my rights. That's one of the main reasons I moved away from the city. So I could shoot my guns whenever I wanted.

I may have to file the 'cease and desist' order against him since he has enough on record to prove that he is harassing me with the complaints. The main reason he went to the County Attorney was because the Sheriff told HIM to stop harassing ME with the calls to their department. I wasn't breaking any laws, and I was shooting in a safe manner.
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Old July 17, 2010, 12:45 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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I'm not a mean spirted person either. Look back at my first suggestion in your original thread....

BUT, if you're going to live in tension with this guy, through no fault of your own, then you need to be in a situation where you are not harassed.

Whatever that takes, legally, you do it.

You have a choice, live by a guy who hates your guts and harasses you every time you spit on your own grass or live by a guy who hates your guts and has been.... enlightened... enough to leave you alone.
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Old July 17, 2010, 02:48 PM   #14
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I absolutely cannot comment on your situation right now other than to point out the obvious. The County Attorney, an elected official, sent you a letter and not a court summons. Your attorney has responded.

Perhaps that will end involvement of law enforcement.
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Old July 19, 2010, 11:52 AM   #15
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I have a couple of questions, and no answers but perhaps someone knowledgeable in Kentucky law can answer the questions and maybe the answers will help the OP.

Legal expense is often brought up as a reason why a person cannot get justice in these type of situations. Someone above has said that what you do in this situation is "stop shooting" which would mean that the other guy gets what he wants whether he was legally right or not.

Is it possible under Kentucky law, to file a free counterclaim on the plaintiffs nickel, once you've been sued? Lets say a counterclaim for "malicious prosecution" or something like that? In other words, when you believe that you have broken no law, but are sued anyway, can you basically stand on your states law both as a defense and an offense, and ask for damages for the harrassment you're being unreasonably subjected to? And can that be done in Kentucky by simply filing a counterclaim without the expense of an attorney?
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Old July 19, 2010, 12:45 PM   #16
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It sounds to me like you are jumping the gun just a little bit... so far, no suits have been filed against you. The ordinance he quoted says that the county may file suit against you (suggesting he doesn't plan to); but the only county official so far has indicated he is on your side of the argument.

Quote:
This is a possible lawsuit that could affect Court Decisions in lawsuits for years to come.... It's called a Precedent Court Ruling. That is what a lot of judges place their decisions on when making up their minds about common suits or disputes. If a judge in Louisville made a similar decision against a landowner then it would give the Plaintiff ammunition in a Court of Law.
Precedent depends a lot on the specific sets of facts in each case - and typically the lowest level of court doesn't have any precedential effect on other courts, only persuasive. For it to be guiding precedent, it would have to be the decision of a higher court (meaning someone lost and appealed).

So, you're about a million miles away from the dire consequences suggested in your first post. It is about the equivalent of suggesting to someone that everybody in your neighborhood is in imminent danger of death when they walk out the door in the morning because they could conceivably be struck by an auto.
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Old July 19, 2010, 02:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Kentucky Residents ... Your Rights Are At Stake
I feel for you and I hope your problem resolves itself but I'm not sure that my rights are riding on the outcome of your issue.

I do hope that you get this worked out quickly though. Good luck.
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Old July 19, 2010, 05:54 PM   #18
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverwalker76
He cited KRS 525.070 and stated ....

"Under Kentucky law if you intend to harass, annoy, or alarm another person by engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and that conduct serves no legitimate purpose, the Commonwealth could charge you with Harassment."

That's what he claims.
Note the part of the statute I highlighted.

If he takes you to court over this, in order for him to win (or the county to win, if he persuades them to do his dirty work for him), he/they must show not only that you were engaging in acts that annoyed him, but that you did so for the express intention of annoying him. That could be tough to prove.

If I understand it, you have been habitually shooting on your property for a long time. Longer than he has been your neighbor, correct? Can we assume that other neighbors have been aware of your habitual shooting, and would testify to same in court?

If so ... case closed. The fact you were doing it before he came on the scene and that your pattern of doing so has not changed clearly shows that your intent is and always has been to practice shooting, not to annoy your neighbor.

Laws use words. Words have meanings. We overlook the words used in laws at our peril.

For what it's worth, your source did not "cite" the law. He gave you a summary of the way he understands it. The law actually reads:

Quote:
525.070 Harassment.
(1) A person is guilty of harassment when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:
(a) Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects him to physical contact;
(b) Attempts or threatens to strike, shove, kick, or otherwise subject the person to physical contact;
(c) In a public place, makes an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display, or addresses abusive language to any person present;
(d) Follows a person in or about a public place or places;
(e) Engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose; or
(f) Being enrolled as a student in a local school district, and while on school premises, on school-sponsored transportation, or at a school-sponsored event:
1. Damages or commits a theft of the property of another student;
2. Substantially disrupts the operation of the school; or
3. Creates a hostile environment by means of any gestures, written communications, oral statements, or physical acts that a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause another student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment.
Aside from the difficulty (for your neighbor) of proving intent, the only part of the law he could claim applies is section (e). And note that, in order for section (e) to apply, the allegedly annoying conduct must serve NO legitimate purpose. You shoot to maintain your skills, under a Constitutional right that the Supreme Court has just affirmed is a fundamental individual right. That's a "legitimate" purpose. Further, do you hunt? If so, then maintaining your aim is a legitimate adjunct to bringing home the food, and helping ensure that you get a clean kill rather than leaving a wounded animal in the wild. That is also a legitimate purpose.

I am not a lawyer, but IMHO the worst thing you could do now is stop shooting. Why? Because then if you ever shoot on your property again, he can claim you started again just to annoy and harass him. If you just keep on keeping on -- your are merely continuing a practice of long standing that is in no way intended to annoy him (irrespective of the fact that it DOES anny him -- don't let him make HIS problem YOUR problem).

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; July 19, 2010 at 06:06 PM.
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Old July 19, 2010, 08:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
...If he takes you to court over this, in order for him to win (or the county to win, if he persuades them to do his dirty work for him), he/they must show not only that you were engaging in acts that annoyed him, but that you did so for the express intention of annoying him...
Clearly the OP's neighbor would have some problems pursuing a claim for harassment under 525.070. But I would think that if the OP's neighbor wanted to pursue a lawsuit against the OP, he'd claim that the OP's shooting on the OP's property constituted a private nuisance.

At Common Law a private nuisance is: "something (as an activity) that constitutes an unreasonable interference in the right to the use and enjoyment of one's property and that may be a cause of action in civil litigation." (http://research.lawyers.com/glossary...-nuisance.html)

The standard under Kentucky law for determining whether an activity constitutes a private nuisance appears to be set out in KRS 411.550 as follows:
Quote:

411.550 Determination of private nuisance.

(1) In determining whether a defendant's use of property constitutes a private nuisance, the judge or jury, whichever is the trier of fact, shall consider all relevant facts and circumstances including the following:

(a) The lawful nature of the defendant's use of the property;
(b) The manner in which the defendant has used the property;
(c) The importance of the defendant's use of the property to the community;
(d) The influence of the defendant's use of property to the growth and prosperity of the community;
(e) The kind, volume, and duration of the annoyance or interference with the use and enjoyment of claimant's property caused by the defendant's use of property;
(f) The respective situations of the defendant and claimant; and
(g) The character of the area in which the defendant's property is located, including, but not limited to, all applicable statutes, laws, or regulations.

(2) A defendant's use of property shall be considered as a substantial annoyance or interference with the use and enjoyment of a claimant's property if it would substantially annoy or interfere with the use and enjoyment of property by a person of ordinary health and normal sensitivities.

Effective: May 24, 1991
History: Created 1991 (1st Extra. Sess.) Ky. Acts ch. 11, sec. 6, effective May 24, 1991.
Personally, I'd have a hard time imagining that occasional gun fire for short periods of time, especially in a rural setting, would constitute a substantial annoyance. But if the OP's neighbor pursues a private nuisance claim, that question might well be finally up to a judge or jury.

In any case, the OP apparently has legal representation. I have to believe that the OP's lawyer is handling matters properly on the OP's behalf and has been properly advising the OP>
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Old July 25, 2010, 01:00 PM   #20
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I am in PA and we used to shoot across from our house in the farmers field. He owns 100 acres. We would shoot in the third hollow which means we had a natural backstop roughly 15' high surrounded by dirt. We were shooting in the direction of his 100 acres so we were not even facing any homes.

In the last year they have been really building up this area and they are putting in a development 1/2 mile to the right of where we shoot. We still have a 100 acres line of site to shoot in not facing or endangering anyone.

One Sat. we were shooting, it was around 10AM. A few minutes after we started here come the local PD. He comes to us and asked if we had permission to shoot there. We said Yep. He said well we had a complaint about gunshots.
I said OK so...........he said we have to check them out. I said OK. He told us who complained (yep that new development) someone who just moved from NJ and said that is why they left to get away from guns and they demanded the PD stop the shooting.

The cop said we were ok and told us to have fun.

Two weeks later the owner of the property got a letter from the NJ pr*cks saying if that shooting continues they would file suit against him.

This farmer is an old guy and hates outside interference and told us to keep shooting.
We stopped because I feared he was over his head and push come to shove neither we or he could afford to defend a suit and I am sure the NJ pr*cks had plenty of cash to press it.

Do I know how this would end, no but I know all over this area the new people moving in are winning the fight to stop EVERYTHING!
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Old July 26, 2010, 12:14 PM   #21
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that is the wrong direction to go....

you have not only the old farmers permission but precedent on your side... you have been shooting on his property before the sub division or the NJ pricks showed up.... I'd go over there and shoot once every two weeks just out of spite.

I'm sure this has been asked in reference to the KY problem... but I would bend over backwards to ask the offending neighbor what I could do to make them happy... just short of stopping shooting.... time of day/ number of times a week?
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Old July 27, 2010, 07:23 PM   #22
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There's a fishing lake owner that has a small shelter setup just off the bank of their fishing lake (this is where the ground drops off and the bank is up high). They'll go out there and shoot into the side of the fishing lake's bank, I guess with just handguns. It's only about 15-20 yards max they have for this range. I don't know what the history is but I've heard people complained about it. This is sort of a rural area, but it's on the edge of the burbs and there are houses just across the street from the lake. I was surprised they setup that range there. I haven't seen them shooting in awhile, so maybe they made them stop. This is in southeast (more or less) Kenton county. I do hear gunfire in the neighborhood itself now and then. I guess some people down the road shoot on their own property too. There's a county sheriff's deputy that lives across from me. Haven't heard of any trouble from all the people around here shooting on their own place. Mostly people seem to leave each other alone.
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Old July 28, 2010, 01:53 AM   #23
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riverwalker,

Who was there first, you or him?
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Old July 28, 2010, 04:10 AM   #24
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First off, this guy is trying to impinge upon your right to shoot on your property. There comes a time when the situation defines you or you define the situation. You don't have to be a jerk about it, but you do need to defend your rights!

I would IMMEDIATELY file a harassment complaint against him. This will most likely cure ALL of your problems.

Secondly, you should, IMHO, have your lawyer contact the neighbor through the county guy and ask him WHEN an appropriate time would be for you to shoot on your property at least three times a week for a period of one hour at a minimum. If the guy comes back and says never, it then shows that he is being very unreasonable in his expectations. If he comes back with three days and decent hours for you to shoot, then there's at least a compromise that might work in your favor and please both of you. I would also get a video camera and record your other neighbor shooting. Then, walk over there and ask him to comment on camera as to whether or not the cops have been called on him.

Do NOT let this guy push you around like this. Not only will you give up your rights, you will also lose a lot of your self respect. Right is right, wrong is wrong. You've already stated that you fire responsibly and with concern for your neighbors. So take it as far as it needs to go. And remember, if you DO get to the point of calling the EPA when that jackwagon is burning his tires, make sure YOUR property is clean.
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