I would like to respond to the article which was printed on the front page of this paper on Oct. 7, titled, “The Appeals Court Upholds Closure of the Lonaconing Trap Club.” This article was pretty good, but didn’t print all the truth and facts.

The club was closed on a noise violation. The law is called Comar Regulations on Sound for the State of Maryland. Comar pertains to only eight counties and Baltimore City. Everybody knows there are 23 counties in this state. It looks to me that the General Assembly made a law which is unconstitutional. They just let 15 counties slide with no restrictions. The Bill of Rights was stepped on.

This paper said also that two long-time neighbors filed a lawsuit. This is incorrect. They complained to the politicians which got the Maryland Department of Environment involved. MDE said we were in violation on a sound level. They hired a man named Dave Jarinko from Baltimore who was a retired soap salesman. MDE gave him four weeks of schooling on decimal instruments and then called him an expert. I don’t know anywhere in the country where you can get a degree in this short period of time. MDE tests only under the L-Max fast frequency. Everything in this state is illegal.

We didn’t move into a residential area. The range was built in 1936. The people moved in around us.

In 2004 in Lonaconing, MDE held a meeting to try to find a solution with our club. We discussed Comar Regulations. Then I presented all the other laws which gave us the right to be here: Grandfather Clause, the Range Protection Act of 1997, and our Constitution. Land swap didn’t work. They didn’t like the results of this meeting. All I did was exercise my First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech.

George Harman admitted under oath that this club was never charged or fined under Comar Regulations. He told me about another gun club in Anne Arundel County with the same problem — sound. That club was given a ten year verbal compliance plan and allowed to operate. George gave us four to six weeks to provide a written compliance plan or told us we were finished. I told him that I was a retired construction worker, not an acoustic sound expert.

What gives MDE the right to think they are God over this state? This is a dictatorship. What has happened to our free democracy in this fine nation? I had more respect for the law and the system until I saw the injustice of this case. It took only about six months to close our range. We appealed and two years later got slapped in the face once again. How many more years will it take to find justice? The only thing I want is for my organization and myself to be treated as an equal in this state

On Oct. 6, I received a document from the Special Appeals Court in Annapolis. It looks to me like they got mad because I didn’t write a letter of compliance to MDE. They also threw the 14th Amendment at us. This is the part that I like — No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

It looks to me like this amendment should protect us also. What has happened to our rights?

It is sad when one politician can go to Annapolis, manipulate the General Assembly, abolish Comar Regulations in the 2005 Session, and create House Bill 756 for all other shooting ranges and hunting clubs in Western Maryland to continue normal operations.

We had a meeting in August 2006 in the Fort Hill auditorium. A citizen told George Edwards that what happened to this club wasn’t right and asked him if he could help. George replied that he couldn’t get involved in the judicial system. That’s funny because in the 20-page document I received from the Appeals Court, Delegate George Edward’s name does appear on the 19th page. This is not a surprise to me. This case isn’t law — it is communism or dictatorship.

God Bless America.

Edward Evans

The Lonaconing Trap Club

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