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Marlboro Firearms Amendment Pulled After Hunting Community Protests

The amendment was a response to a stray bullet smashing a window of a Morganville resident's home.

Imagine hearing gunshots around your home every day during hunting season. Now, imagine one of those bullets crashing through the bathroom window of your home.

When Marlboro Township officials heard the story of a bullet, or pellet, crashing through the bathroom window of Morganville resident Tricia Garofalo, council members created an amendment to the firearms ordinance with stricter hunting guidelines in the township.

Garofalo said she and her husband were getting their children ready for school when a bullet or pellet, not yet identified in type by the Marlboro Police Department, broke through her bathroom window and landed in her bathtub.

"My main concern is the safety of my children," Garofalo said. "I could have been in that bathtub bathing one of my children."

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Garofalo's home borders the Forest Green Park Cemetery near Amboy Road in Morganville, where police said cemetery owners allow hunting on the property to control the wildlife population.

In response, an amendment to an existing Marlboro Township firearms ordinance widened the area around building structures which hunting is allowed.

Garofalo and her neighbors approached Town Council last Thursday, concerned about the amount of gun shots they hear early in the morning and sometimes throughout the day during hunting season.

"When it literally hits home, that is when we really got nervous about it," Garofalo said. "I don't think anybody should have their rights taken away...I am against my husband or my children getting hurt, or my children not having me or my husband around."

Dozens of hunters turned up at last Thursday night's Town Council meeting to voice their own opinions on the matter, only to find that the council had already pulled the amendment from the agenda.

The current firearms ordinance sets hunting back 450 feet from any dwelling, and bans hunting on property less than five acres. The amendment looked to only allow hunting on property 25 acres or larger and set back 1,500 feet from a border, rather than a dwelling.

Anthony Mauro, Chairman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, said this could unintentionally ban hunting in the township.

"How do you see a border? You can see a dwelling," Mauro said. "It becomes extremely difficult to enforce, and the unintended effect would be to ban hunting."

Mauro said the proposed restrictions would not only be difficult to enforce, but could rule out hunting on the majority of currently huntable land in Marlboro.

"This seems to be stepping on a state law...We appreciate trying to ensure safety, but this is trampling on liberties and rights in order to do this."

The Monmouth County Deer Management Program regulates hunting in the county, including by issuing permits, and looks to hunting on county property as a way to control a booming deer population in the area .

"We are not out there hunting just because we want to, we are rally seriously trying to manage the deer population," said Karen Livingstone, Public Information Officer for the Monmouth County Parks System.

Livingstone said that since hunting was implemented, the Deer Management branch of the parks system as seen white-tailed deer population decrease and level off. 

But residents near hunting grounds feel safety and quality of life is at risk. 

"We feel like firearms should be be going off [at the cemetery] when it could endanger us," said Matthew Granese, a neighbor of Garofalo. "And it has been proven that it can go right through a window and into a home. Does my 5-year-old need to be laid out by a bullet?"

Council President Jeff Cantor said he believes it is unlikely that from 450 feet or more, which are the current guidelines, someone could have reached a window.

"If they are following the law, a shotgun shell or buck shot should never reach your development," Cantor said. "You don't want to punish everybody because one person is being stupid."

Cantor added that the cemetery owners and the Marlboro Police Department should look into other ways to control deer and geese populations on the property, including bow hunting.

The cemetery is a 15 acre or more property, more than 10 acres larger than current hunting restrictions mandate in the township. 

Captain Bart Lombardo said the department has been working with the property owners, who have entertained different ways of controlling wildlife.

Pierre Van Mater, a farmer in Marlboro said he understands safety restrictions, but hunting is important to his business and the business of farmers like him.

"The farm owners do need these hunters," he said. "Without these other hunters, the land owners themselves certainly can't control the wildlife as it is now."

Mayor Jon Hornik requested a police department report of any stray bullet instances in the township, so the council and administration could have a better idea of how to amend the existing hunting guidelines.

Garofalo said, "It really just takes that one time, and I'm not willing to take that chance or live in an area that allows that chance."

Ryan Hardy October 09, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Looks like an excuse for gun control. Shame that that happened, but the rights of others should not be trampled for superficial fears
Michael Nikolis October 09, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Hunting deer with shotgun slugs is much more humane than bow hunting. Unlikely, the 'bullet' that struck a house came from a hunter.. since hunting with standard rifles is illegal in NJ.. Considering the thousands of motorists who have been injured or killed due to deer in the last ten years on NJ roads verses the handful of hunting accidents during that same time, its safe to say a registered NJ hunter will likely save your life..
Tommy October 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Mike , I am a bow hunter for over 20 years & anyone will tell you, Hunting with a slug gun or buck shot is great way to kull the herd but deffinatly not more humane then bow hunting.? I guess you are not a bow hunter, or a hunter at all. But if you are a gun hunter then you well know after you shoot the deer with a gun you inflick serious pain on the animal it drives a led bullett into the animal that is flaming hot and the deer flips around like a fish out of water until it dies a slow and painfull death. When bow hunting you shoot from a stand toward the ground, if you miss the arrow sticks in the ground. Alot more safer for the public. When shot with a correctly placed razor head the arrow goes right through the deer and sticks into the ground then most of the time its the noise from the bow that makes the deer run or it just walks away like nothing happened and gets dizzy and falls over or lays down. It is exactly like cutting yourself while shaving you dont even know it happened until you see the blood. Not saying gun hunting is not a good way of kulling ther herd but don't talk like you know what you are talking about if you don't. If people are having problems in town with fear of bulletts traveling Make it mandatory to hunt from a tree stand with a minimum height of 15 feet high. This way if there is a miss the bullet will go into the ground.
Michael Nikolis October 09, 2012 at 06:34 PM
100% correct. I am not a hunter. I recognize and appreciate all outdoor sportsmen for they have been the single most important force in preserving open space. Plus, they make our roads safer and offer fresh meat to local food banks. I won't attest to the muzzle velocity of a 12 gauge vs the kinetic energy needed to stop the 14 point Buck I saw in Holmdel over the weekend, but I would bet good money that you're probably a better shot than most..
Marmatt October 09, 2012 at 07:16 PM
The only RIGHTS that have been trampled on are those belonging to the residents who are entitled to be protected from flying bullets and arrows by their municipal government. Unfortunately, Marlboro officials have chosen not to stand up to thugs of Anthony Mauro's ilk. Mauro, or 'Ant' has he prefers to be known, is a resident of Colts Neck who also happens to be the creator of www.ammoland.com, where Mr. Mauro's priorities are abundantly clear. How sad that these impotent municipal officials allow themselves to be bulled into submission by those who seek to impose their weapons and violence on a community. Marlboro officials - time to 'grow some.'
Jon Boody October 09, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Marmatt, I need to disagree with you on that. While people might have differences in opinion on the firearms issue, the reality is, people do have a right to own and use firearms. This right is severely curtailed in many instances, but that right does still exist. All-in-all, the use of firearms in hunting is very safe for both the hunters and the surrounding communities. I am not going to deny that some risks exist with hunting, but it's still much safer for the general population than other common activities, such as driving. Michael is correct in that outdoor sportsmen have been the single most important force in preserving open space. They have rights, just as much as everyone else who is trying to honestly and safely enjoy their lives.
Rosie October 09, 2012 at 10:36 PM
MARLBORO CITIZENS NEED TO WAKE UP AND TAKE BACK OUR COMMUNITY AND PARKS. CALL AND E-MAIL OUR COUNCIL AND MAYOR IMMEDIATELY AND TELL THEM TO APPROVE THE ORDINANCE. Anthony Mauro is not a resident of Marlboro and neither were most of the hunters that showed up at the meeting. They do not care about the safety of our residents. This group travels around the state going to town meetings when there is the prospect of restricting hunting. They call townships and attend meetings like they are residents. Our Town Council yielded to their pressure.Hunters represent less than 1% of the population. Somehow the hunters found out about this ordinance before the citizens of Marlboro. We can replace shrubs and vehicles but cannot replace lives lost or maimed by a hunting accident. This was not an isolated accident, they happen more frequently than reported to police. We should be tired of dealing with the compounded issues hunting creates. Hunters do not track hit animals and we have to watch and deal with a suffering and dying animal on our property. Hunting creates more accidents by driving the deer into neighborhoods. If Marlboro's citizens don't pay attention hunters will succeed in reducing the distance to 150 ft from homes and be able to hunt 7 days a week. We already cannot use the one park in Marlboro, Big Brook Park 6 days a week. How is it that they have more civil rights than us and they continue to put our loved ones at risk?
Paul Schlaflin October 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Rosie you seem long on agenda and short on facts. How many people were injured by hunters in NJ in the last decade? The situation, while understandably upsetting, has been exaggerated to war one status. It was also a result of the laws being broken not as a result of a lack in legislation. Someone was 1) too close to buildings and 2) shot across a roadway.(they were goose hunting not deer hunting). I don't know a single hunter who doesn't track a deer after shooting it.Although as a bow hunter, I can shoot 150' away and I can hunt 7 days a week on private land. Maybe we should ban School buses and student drivers in the FRHSD since I believe there were more kids hurt yesterday on a bus than as a rsult of a hunter than in the entire state, ever.
Jillian Monroe October 10, 2012 at 06:58 PM
While reading the responses it occurred to me that Marmatt and Rosie appear to be the thugs, not Mauro. Mauro makes sense to me, hunting helps Marlboro in a number of ways. It helps to reduce deer which means less deer and car collisions, it helps to reduce the spread of lyme disease from ticks carried by deer, it helps to improve the condition of forests (too many deer destroy forests), it helps to minimize property destruction from deer. Some people enjoy venison and should be allowed to eat it if they choose. Congrats to Marlboro for making the proper decision. If Mauro lives in Colts Neck then he does have an interest in the outcome since the town is adjacent to Marlboro and deer travel through these towns. I'll bet Marmatt and Rosie don't live in Marlboro or Colts Neck. I went to the website that Marmatt mentioned and it's a very respectable website. I don't see anywhere where Mauro created it, it looks like he's written articles about conservation of natural resources. He's well written and very knowledgeable it seems to me. I'd encourage people to go there to read some of his stuff. Jon and Paul make a lot of sense. Marmatt and Rosie seem like they are shrill shills from the animal rights movement. Shame on you gals.
Jillian Monroe October 10, 2012 at 07:21 PM
How do these people even know where Mauro lives, are they stalkers or something? At the website Marmatt referred to I found this article by Maurro about how nature is preserved by the process of conservation. I thought it had application to the Marlboro situation. http://www.ammoland.com/2011/08/16/preservation-through-conservation-2/#axzz28vPnmUlP
Rosie October 11, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Mr. Schlaflin with your reputation in Marlboro your statements are meaningless. I have seen more than one untracked hit deer and have had to clean up after hunters more than once. I have personally seen numerous hunting regulations broken. All the ordinance was trying to do is increase the buffer zone to keep residents safe, because hunters are known for breaking boundary and other regulations.
Rosie October 11, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I live in Marlboro, do you? To repeat what I responded to Mr. Schlaflin: I have seen more than one untracked hit deer and have had to clean up after hunters more than once. I have personally seen numerous hunting regulations broken. All the ordinance was trying to do is increase the buffer zone to keep residents safe, because hunters are known for breaking boundary and other regulations. More car accidents occur during hunting season than any other time of the year because the animals move away from hunting zones into neighborhoods. I have personally seen a specific white spotted deer move to a safer area 2 1/2 miles from a hunting zone. Hunting only temporarily reduces population for the few months during the season. They rebound during the spring with new births. Less deer during the winter provides more food for the ones left and it increases number of fetuses that are born in spring. The number one carrier for deer ticks are mice and rats which come much closer to your home than deer. I am actually not against hunting entirely but it should not take place at a risk to the public. If it is done responsibly and effectively I do not have an issue with it. My main concern is the the rights of the public. We should not have to lose our parks completely during hunting season. We should not have to watch animals suffer and die on our property and have to deal with it.
Rosie October 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Just saw that you are subscribed to the Cranford Patch. Like Anthony Mauro stay out of Marlboro's business. My guess is that you are one of his lackey's that go around NJ bullying townships.
William H. Bonnie October 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Get over yourself rosie. when marlboro cedes from the county, state and federal governments and stops taking handouts from my tax money we will leave you and your silly activists alone even though I am sure at least 87% of the residents of marlboro do not agree with you and love hunting as it is and think the rules should already be relaxed.
Rosie October 11, 2012 at 07:57 PM
William, you are from where? Middletown. Are you another Mauro lackey? You guys are proving my point that those at against the ordinance were not from Marlboro. Mind your own business.
William H. Bonnie October 11, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Rosie - clearly you are short on reasoning ability and lack the knowledge of how the patch works. Just because someone was reading a story in one of the patches and logs in there doesnt mean that they live there. I happen to be from New York City. And I am minding my business sister. I will be at the meetings with all of my cohorts.
Rosie October 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Thanks for the patch lesson, so what. The point is I knew you were not from here, so again thanks for proving my point. You have helped me tremendously by your admission. Marlboro's true voices will be heard loud and clear.
William H. Bonnie October 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Marlboro cannot and will not impede our rights to hunt. The United States of America's true voices will be heard. If you dont like it move to NYC.
Paul Schlaflin October 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Rosie, you are a piece of work, you are. You are calling these folks out for being out of town, because you were able to check their identities because they use their names. They have concerns and opinions, they stand by them. You spew misinformation, make outrageous claims that can't be verified all under cover of anonymity. How do we know you live in town? Why should not everyone just discount you as a rabid animal rights activist? You claim to have first hand, eyewitness accounts of hunters breaking the law, do you file police reports, I would have, I have. No sportsman has a tolerance for violations of the rules/laws. You are trying to exploit those violations, real or more likely imagined, for your own agenda. I read about a woman stabbed her husband..I think we should ban the use of knives by housewives. Just out of curiosity, do you also object to the folks from Aberdeen coming to Marlboro's planning board meetings to protest the apartment complex on Lloyd Rd, organized by Marlboro residents, or is it just when they have a different opinion than yours. That's where that anonymity comes in handy, makes double standards so much easier to hide.
Jillian Monroe October 12, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Rosie wrote about me "Just saw that you are subscribed to the Cranford Patch. Like Anthony Mauro stay out of Marlboro's business. My guess is that you are one of his lackey's that go around NJ bullying townships." Wow. Rosie not only seems to be stalking Mauro she's also stalking me by investigating my Patch subscriptions. Very scary. As for her thinking that only people living in Marlboro have a right to a say in what happens in Marlboro - it's the type of thinking that fits on the head of a pin. Marlboro gets tax money from the county and the state and these tax dollars come from tax payers throughout the state. Plus, any town or city that is not a good "government citizen" has a negative impact on surrounding towns, counties and possibly the state. Marlboro is neither sovereign nor an island. Deer that are in Marlboro don't have any idea of where Marlboro borders are, so how can they be entirely Marlboro's problem they are everyone's problem. The guy that lives in Sparta driving on a Marlboro road and collides with a deer is as much of a victim of Marlboro's negligence as the guy that lives in Marlboro. For Rosie, it doesn’t appear to be a small world after all.
Paula G October 12, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I just happend to take Hunters Education class last week, and I'm proud to be able to hunt now... I think hunter's rights are threatened by this type of reasoning, please read the rules and regulations that EVERY hunter needs to follow in order to get a permit, there are more traffic accidents in the country and hunting is a way to preserve our resources. Hunting pays for preservation and conservation, pays for a lot of the open spaces that are enjoyed by many... hunters do not take any money from non hunters, everything is paid by hunters (tax on hunting gear and equipment...). It is important for non hunting population to know the facts, we can have a nice conversation without calling people names or get aggrevated... what happend with the slug hitting the house is terrible and should not have happened, but you can't blame everybody for what one person did wrong, it will be the same as prohibit driving after a driving accident, and God knows that we have too many of those! (and are very tragic!). Let;s try to reason and listen to both parts, we are all members of the same community!.
Paul Schlaflin October 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Paula, Good luck in your first season. Well stated, HOWEVER, I do need to clarify, no "slug" hit a house. I, in no way want to trivialize what happened. It should never happen, however a desending pellet from a shotgun during a goose hunt has an extremely low probability of causing any serious injury ( clearly any injury being far too many) as opposed to a slug. This incident was not related to deer hunting as related by the homeowner at the town council meeting. As Paula pointed out, hunting, as with most activities, is safe as long as the existing laws and regulations are followed, clearly they were not followed in this instance.
Paul Schlaflin October 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Rosie I have never seen a more inaccurate post in my life! Your agenda is showing. The proposed ordinance was so restrictive it virtually banned hunting, requiring 25 acres and 1500 foot setback leaves a small patch in the middle of a vey rare lot, if the lot is square! That leaves the parks you don't want hunted. More accidents take place during hunting season because it is during the rut,and the does are running from the eager bucks. This is also when the pregnancies happen so the nonsense about more food affecting the amout of fetuses is pure rubbish. And 2 1/2 miles is nothing for a deer to range, especially during the rut.
Jillian Monroe October 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM
By the way the representative from the township never said a "bullet" or "slug" entered the home. It is the writer of the article and a person being quoted that called it a "bullet". It is also referred to as a pellet. "I don't If they are following the law, a shotgun shell or buck shot should never reach your development," Cantor said. Police have had plenty of time to determine what the object was. This is not to minimize public concern, but I imagine that the writer of the article obviously chose to highlight the word bullet to sensationalize the story. If you read the words used by Rosie and Marmatt its easy to see that they closely follow that guy Marro so they aren't simply the concerned citizens they respresent. Who knows if they even live in Marlboro. I think they are animal rights activists which is ok but animal rights people don't seem to listen to opposing viewpoints. They have their script and they stick to it.
Paul Schlaflin October 13, 2012 at 01:00 PM
@Jullian it is an unfair characterization to suggest the writer was trying to sensationalize the story. Fact is, it was referred to as both bullet and pellet during the meeting.
Jillian Monroe October 14, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I disagree Paul. Here's the subtitle: "The amendment was a response to a stray bullet smashing a window of a Morganville resident's home." I don't see the word pellet in the subtitle. It's an attention getter & meant to sensationalize the story. At a minimum "pellet or bullet" would be accurate.

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