Gun Range Survives


June 15, 2006, 09:26 AM

Gun club permit request passes
Hanover supervisors vote 5-2 to approve filing; more than 300 attend hearing


Jun 15, 2006

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A western Hanover County gun club moved closer to compliance with the law late last night.

The Hanover Board of Supervisors voted 5-2 just before midnight to approve permit applications filed by the Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club.

The vote came after an overflow crowd of more than 300 people gathered for a public hearing by the board, which heard comments for three hours until nearly 11 p.m.

Cavalier was cited last year for alleged zoning violations after neighbors' complaints about noise and increased activity prompted an inspection of its 436-acre facility near the Louisa County line. In August, Cavalier filed for new permits that would make its current facilities legal.

Much of the public hearing centered on conditions intended to address concerns about noise, safety and environmental impacts that would be imposed for the club to continue operating.

County supervisors approved conditions that included:

* keeping the club open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays and from 9 a.m. until sunset on other days;

* capping the club's membership at 600 and an additional 100 senior members; and

* allowing automatic weapons on one range between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

About two dozen supporters of Cavalier urged the board to work with the club.

James Sturgill, a South Anna District resident and club member, said much of the facility is buffered by undeveloped forest land that has become a refuge for wildlife.

"If Cavalier is regulated out of existence, sooner or later its property will be chopped to pieces and a haven for deer, turkey, beaver, river otter and a variety of other animals and birds would be lost, and that would truly be a shame," Sturgill said. "Cavalier is committed to maintaining safety and promoting environmental stewardship and will do whatever it reasonably can to resolve legitimate concerns. "

Donald Talley, who lives about 2 miles from the club, said the demise of Cavalier would result in even more gunfire in the county.

"If it were to close, we would have a lot of shooting going on in all the neighborhoods around the county," Talley said. "It would be a tremendous impact on law enforcement throughout the whole metro area because people are going to shoot, and there's enough shooting going on in people's backyards as it is."

Fifteen speakers, mostly residents of neighborhoods surrounding the club, said Cavalier's activities have hurt their quality of life and property values.

"This issue is not about hunting. It's not about the right to own a gun. Approval of Cavalier doesn't mean hunting. It means loud, competitive, regional shooting matches with large groups of people from outside the county and the recreational use of high-powered and automatic weapons," Michael Papit said.

"When did using machine guns or assault weapons become a normal part of living in the country? It has absolutely no connection to traditional rural life as far as I know."

Contact staff writer Melodie N. Martin at or (804) 649-6290.

Here are two of "local reader's" responses.

Posted on 06/15 at 08:15 AM
Wow, a 40 year old gun range, built in the middle of nowhere, runs up against entitled yuppies who believe that they can define what it's like to live in the country. Superb. It's called "TURKEY SHOOTING" and it's been around the country for aeons. These are the same kind of idiots who protest development after they've already built. Course that doesn't excuse the range for not building berms and planting evergreens for noise breaks. Best to be a good neighbor to receive neighborly relations.

Posted on 06/15 at 08:15 AM
All I can say is, if you knowingly buy a home near a gun range, and you KNEW it was near a gun range, then you should put up with the noise. I live near the airport. I knew when I bought the house that it was near the airport. Yet I haven't petitioned my board of supervisors yet to close the airport because of the noise.

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June 15, 2006, 10:10 AM
Cavalier is located in a very rural, isolated part of Hanover county. For anyone to buy a home in that area then complain they didn't know a gun club was located nearby is nothing short of arrogant stupidity. It's the same brand of brain dead people who buy homes close to military bases then complain about jet noise. I'm glad the Board of Supv's told them what they could do with their complaints.

June 15, 2006, 10:20 AM
This is the same thing that happened to the Tucson Rod and Gun Club, delopers built all around a range that had been there since 1957, with ONE minor accident in all that time, and they managed to get it closed down. Bastiges. That's why I like Tucson Mountain Park range. It may be smaller, and less developed, but being in an established state park, it can't get developed away!
BTW, TRGC lost, were kicked out, but are apparently building a new range out way east of Tucson. Can't keep a good range down!

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