COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More than a year ago, Wayne Hughes and his neighbors were startled by the sound of high-powered rifles being fired in the residential neighborhood of Red Rock Valley, about 14 miles southwest of downtown Colorado Springs.

They called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to report shots fired and tried to pinpoint the gunfire. They eventually identified the source, and Hughes said he and other neighbors politely asked the homeowner, John Maximenko, to curtail his shooting.

Neighbors said firing weapons is not appropriate in a residential neighborhood of 80 or so homes, but authorities said it’s legal.

“It was assault rifles, and they were close,” said Hughes, who has lived in the valley 30 years. “It sounded like a war zone.”

“He thumbed his nose at us,” Hughes said. “And the sheriff’s office told us there are no regulations against shooting in the county.”

Maximenko said he was surprised by the complaints, and he said he has done nothing wrong. “I shoot once or twice a month, maybe, and only between noon and 3,” he said.

He said he spent $2,500 building a berm the sheriff said is safe, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.

Existing county ordinances prohibit shooting ranges in residential zones on less than 10 acres. But a county land-use official has ruled Maximenko’s berm isn’t a shooting range, and his occasional shooting does not qualify as recurring shooting, which is prohibited.

Last September, months after that first incident, neighbors got a scare when a stray rifle bullet hit a home. They called the sheriff’s office again. Deputies investigated and said it came from somewhere else.

Hughes wants county commissioners to pass an ordinance requiring at least a half-mile between any home range and the closest houses or public roads.

Commissioner Sallie Clark said she is looking into it. “We want to ensure everyone can exercise their Second Amendment rights. But we want them to be safe while they are doing it,” Clark said.

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Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com