UNION, NJ – An action group formed by residents of Union, Kenilworth and Cranford have filed a lawsuit against the Township of Union regarding the shooting range for police officers located near the Home Depot and Union Township Animal Shelter on Route 22.
The action group, Union Kenilworth Cranford Concerned Citizens (UKCCC) filed the lawsuit for maintaining a nuisance, citing the safety and noise conditions at the shooting range, and are requesting that those conditions are remedied or that the range be shut down.
“Who would approve a gun range, feet away from a pet shelter and a Home Depot garden center without adequate health and safety measures?,” the UKCCC wrote in a press release. “The sound levels are so high, are they causing hearing loss for the pets and shoppers at Home Depot? What counter measures are in place to prevent a stray bullet from hitting shippers, citizens using the park, or schools in Kenilworth and Cranford all in the line of errant fire?”
Dan Zieser, director of Police for the Union Police Department, could not comment on the lawsuit. However, he did say that the shooting range was built long before the animal shelter.
“The range has been there since the 50s or 60s,” Zieser said. “I was a Newark cop for 35 years and I remember shooting there when I first came out.”
According to Zieser, the shooting range is only open to members of the Kenilworth Police Department, Roselle Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department, the New Jersey Office of United States Marshalls and the Union County Police Academy. It is not open to the public.
The UKCCC said in the press release that officials from the township are unaware of the pain and discomfort the shooting range has caused.
“We are shocked that elected officials in Union do not see that this is causing pain and discomfort to residents and pets alike,” the UKCCC statement says. “Pets in homes are shaking from the gunfire. We complained to Union Township and they were not aware of all the times and days the range is being used but they failed to remedy.”
Zieser said he does not believe the range creates a disturbance to the public and nearby schools. According to the UKCCC, officials do not care because they do not live near the gun range.
“If an officer sneezes, or a cadet who is firing a weapon for the first time makes a mistake, someone will pay the price with their life, whether a person or a pet,” the UKCCC wrote. “Since none of the Union Township Committee live near this gun range, this nuisance is not a problem for them. It is time for the health, welfare and suffering of everyone involved to be taken into consideration.”
Daniel Antonelli, Union’s township attorney, has not immediately responded to TAPinto’s request for comment. TAPinto will continue to update the story as it progresses.
The UKCCC launched a GoFundMe for citizens to support the cost of legal fees. To view the page, click here.