Arne Smith wants to set the record straight. He makes no apologies for his love of shooting. "It's something I take very seriously," he said.  The precision of shooting is therapy to Smith, who describes the ability to read wind as "an art."

Several facts put forward in a previous Republican Journal article titled "800-yard shooting 'lane' riles residents" were inaccurate, according to Smith. "I'm not some crazy guy just out here shooting away," he said.

The article dealt with the fine line between a resident's right to shoot weapons on his property and a neighbor's right to peace and quiet.

Smith is a former Marine who is originally from Michigan by way of Texas, and he has lived in Montville since May. He is currently attending Unity College in hopes of finishing a degree in adventure therapy, a nature-based approach to social work and psychology.

He volunteers with Maine's veteran projects, including Wounded Warrior and The Windy Warrior Adrenaline Therapy, a non-medicinal program that treats stress with positive natural adrenaline.

"We jump out of airplanes with them. … (It) builds trust back in your fellow man," he said.

Smith said he target shoots within an area measuring 135 yards wide by 1,425 yards long, He cleared an 800-yard lane, down the middle of his property, of downed, decayed trees and debris with the intent of growing a "nice green strip" of oats, soy beans, clover and other things deer like to eat.

Smith mostly uses a .308 rifle, "a modern hunting cartridge," or a .223 long rifle, among others. From his firing position in front of his garage, Smith has put AR500 armor steel targets at 200, 400, 500, 600 and 700 yards down the lane. He said he does not use exploding targets — a complaint previously aired during a Planning Board meeting.

"When I shoot, I lay right next to my garage. It's on a nice hill, and I can see every target that's out there," he said.

To the claim that he shoots day and night, Smith says he would be "broke" if that were the case, noting each round costs him $1.25. If he were to shoot 500 rounds in a day, he said, that would be over $500 worth of ammunition. "I don't have that kind of money," he said.

With the aid of a GPS tracking device, Smith has outlined all of his neighbors houses and the distances from each to his firing position next to his garage to ensure he is within the law.

Camp Neofa, a youth camp that lies across Trues Pond in the general receiving end of the shooting lane, "is over a mile away to the southeast of my firing lane," Smith said in reference to the previous article. Considering the berm at the end of the lane, it would not be "feasibly possible" to have a stray bullet reach the camp, he said.

Smith said he purposefully left the trees on the side of the lane and pushed debris up against his neighbor's side to act as a buffer and to absorb the noise.

According to Smith, his shooting position is 270 yards away from the home of the neighbor who has had issues with his shooting. The closest target to his neighbor's house, Smith says, is 148 yards.

Smith said his neighbor has complained "every step of way" in his development of the lane. "(My neighbor) didn't like the noise of the equipment, didn't like I was cutting down the trees on my property and also didn't like that I was shooting on my property. We had done everything we were supposed to and had all our permits."

Smith's neighbor asked in an email message to The Republican Journal not to be identified because of safety concerns based on social media posts by a pro-gun group. The neighbor said original concerns have evolved into a "dangerous situation" and that Smith's actions have gone "beyond backyard shooting."

The neighbor previously cited Maine law Title 17 – Crimes, Chapter 91 – Nuisances, No. 2806, Establishment of shooting range near existing property, which reads, "2. A person who owns property in the vicinity of a shooting range that was established after the person acquired the property may maintain a nuisance action, including for noise, against that shooting range only if the action is brought within 5 years after establishment of the range or 3 years after a substantial change in use of the range."

Simply put, if someone moves into an area and puts a shooting range on the property, neighbors who have lived in the vicinity of the shooting range have the legal right to pursue a nuisance action, which includes noise.

Code Enforcement Officer Bob Temple said he has sent two letters to Smith, alerting him that he is in violation of the town's Site Plan Review Ordinance. Temple suggested in his letters that Smith should discontinue shooting or appear before the Planning Board to fill out a retroactive application within 30 days.

The town ordinance states an application needs to be filled out for "… establishment of a new nonresidential use (of the property) even if no buildings or structures are proposed."

Smith said he has spoken with a lawyer who told him he is within the law and that he doesn't need to file a permit. Smith said he understood the term "nonresidential" (from the town ordinance) to imply commercial use, which is something he says his shooting lane is not.

"I'm not going to fall for this trap," he said. "I told Bob Temple I'm not filling out a permit to shoot on my property."

"We (Smith and his lawyer) plan on appealing this," Smith said.

At an Oct. 10 Planning Board meeting, Temple said he had spoken with Smith's lawyer, and that they (Smith and his lawyer) expect to attend a pre-application meeting that would "stop my clock from ticking."

"He has until Oct. 28 to make an application," Temple said. "If that date goes by and we don't have an application, he has admitted guilt and will need to go before a judge."

This is not an extension, Temple said, because the town is waiting on Smith to provide information.

"Nowhere did we say you can't have a gun," Temple said, referring to social media comments claiming the town is trying to prohibit discharge of firearms within town borders.