My Range Was Ordered Closed Today


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coloradokevin
May 17, 2013, 06:06 AM
I'm so pissed I could pee fire!

I think shooting sports are beginning to die a slow death in this country, for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that more and more shooting locations are disappearing, often due to increased legal/political pressure. I've watched this trend develop for the past couple of decades, and adjusted my shooting habits as required: one public range closes, move to another public range. When that range closes, move to national forest land, then move again when that area gets subjected to a closure order... and so on

But, I felt that I'd finally solved that problem a few years ago after I joined a well-established private shooting club out in the sticks, not too far from the Denver metro area. For the past few years I've been a member of the Wildlife Hunters Association of Colorado, and enjoyed shooting out to 600 yards on a regular basis... until today.

Now, thanks to an unproven accusation from a person who lives a couple of miles from the range, the range is no more. I received this sad e-mail from one of the range directors tonight (this is just a portion of it for public viewing):


"Dear WHAC Members,

It is with a heavy heart that we have to write this e-mail. Due to an incident with a round allegedly escaping the rifle range, we had a neighbor complain to Adams County about our organization. This was investigated by the Sheriff’s office and eventually ended up in a hearing at the Adams County Planning Commissioner’s Office. The Planning Commission has determined that we do not meet the current criteria for the operation of a shooting range in this area. Based on this they have requested from us to cease all shooting immediately on the Hazlet property.

We are certain that you have many questions and we will try to answer them as thoroughly as possible in this email…

What was the incident?
A neighbor to the south of the range alleges that a round was shot over the hill and went through window of their house. The Sheriff’s Dept. conclusion was that it was an accident and therefore they could not hold a specific individual liable for this action. They have stated that it is possible that this shot originated from our range.

As we have always stated we are responsible for every round fired from our guns and that safety is paramount. If it did in fact come from our range, it would have been caused by someone who had an accidental discharge or miscalculated his/her aim, sending a projectile over the back berm. We all know the safety rules and helped each other enforce them; unfortunately our neighbor’s misconception of ballistic trajectories had negative implications on the life of our club.

Could the club re-open?
We are looking at one other option that may grandfather the club and not have to follow current standards. However, this process will take a minimum of 120 days and may not be financially feasible. Regardless of what we may achieve in the future, understand that, by order of the County Commissioner, we must cease all shooting on the property effective immediately. Please do not go to the range to do any type of shooting.

What improvements would we have to do to the club to meet the current regulations?
Adams County makes it extremely expensive to comply with their regulations. We would need to fence in the section of land with a 6 foot high chain link fence. Material alone would cost about $25 per linear foot plus labor. As I am sure you all know, one section of land equals one square mile or, in other words, we would need to build four linear miles of fence which would amount to over $500,000.

We would also need to put a sign every 100 yards of fencing stating that this is a shooting range. Average metal sign cost about $15 apiece. In addition to this we would need to put in sound abatement that would surround the property.


Once again I find myself without a place that I can count on for shooting. I hope this situation somehow resolves itself, but the range owners are already planning to disperse the dues that have been collected from members for the remainder of the year. It kind of sounds like this one is a done deal.

How do we possibly keep shooting in the future if county regulations make it damn near impossible to operate a range? My friend looked through some Adams County regulations on ranges tonight, and said that they are requiring: 6 ft perimeter fences, signs every 100 yards, a ten foot berm "encircling" the property, and an on-site NRA certified instructor whenever the range is in operation. Yeah, all of that's real possible... especially for a 600 yard rifle range. Essentially, counties are regulating ranges out of business, and the problem found its way to my range today.

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BaltimoreBoy
May 17, 2013, 06:18 AM
Is the accusation even true though?

Something similar happened at my Father-in-law's shooting club. The range is in the KC area and is on land originally donated by Brewster Hodgdon many years ago. Somebody claimed that a round traveled several miles and hit their house. They fought it and proved by forensics that it was not possible that the round came from the range. The complaint was false and malicious. Maybe they shouldn't give without a fight.

Blackstone
May 17, 2013, 06:28 AM
Is the accusation even true though?

Something similar happened at my Father-in-law's shooting club. The range is in the KC area and is on land originally donated by Brewster Hodgdon many years ago. Somebody claimed that a round traveled several miles and hit their house. They fought it and proved by forensics that it was not possible that the round came from the range. The complaint was false and malicious. Maybe they shouldn't give without a fight.

I hope the accuser got the book thrown at them for that

clutch
May 17, 2013, 06:28 AM
Something is fishy. No one gives up that easy unless they have a reason out of view.

Snowdog
May 17, 2013, 06:38 AM
Sorry to read this. A similar situation happened to me where in outdoor range (once a rock quarry) was shut down in the mid 90's. It closed not because it was unsafe, but because people who had cleared forested area, built McMansions and moved in well after the range was established complained enough to have the operation close down.

It is quite frustrating and I feel your pain.

OARNGESI
May 17, 2013, 06:40 AM
Is it just me or does that chain link fence seem really high

Uncle Richard
May 17, 2013, 07:26 AM
Something similar happened here in WV. Several bullets went flying into someones home that were supposedly fired from a public range managed by the DNR. Considering the topography of the land, and the house approximately a mile away, the individual would have to aim intentionally into the air. The range is supposed to open after the DNR determine how to prevent it again; however, a year is approaching fast, if not already.

A couple idiots ruin it for everyone.

Boxhead
May 17, 2013, 07:56 AM
We had that a few years ago when a fire created some serious damage behind the range in north Idaho. Once the dust settled it was cleared and the range is still as fine as it was...

beatledog7
May 17, 2013, 08:13 AM
Sounds to me like the range may have been in financial difficulty before the alleged loose round incident, and its leadership has simply used the event as a closure decision point.

There is no way to make a shooting range immune to accidents. There is no way to make pharmaceuticals immune to misuse or an automobile crash completely survivable with airbags.

All that said, range regulations are just another backdoor means to rob us of the meaning and importance of RKBA. Imagine a world in which nobody's trying to take away your car, but the rules for putting a car on the road are so arduous, and compliance is so expensive, that the average person can't do it. In effect, though you technically have a physical car in your driveway, you can't use it in the way it was designed to be used.

Do you really have a car in this kind of world?

bill in IN
May 17, 2013, 08:20 AM
Ex post facto?

Jacob L Freeman
May 17, 2013, 08:22 AM
A local man bought property UPHILL from a gun range that has existed 50+ years and has been trying to legally shut it down because of the risk of stray bullets and supposed lead contamination. He obviously (obvious to me as I read the local paper and know more about him than I can say here) has an anti-gun agenda, and is not genuinely concerned about lead. He chose to live there, knowing he would hear gun shots, hoping he would use his "rights" to control neighboring property.

alsaqr
May 17, 2013, 08:32 AM
It's a very sad day when any firing range gets closed down. The Adams county range regulations are totally far out. :(

My friend looked through some Adams County regulations on ranges tonight, and said that they are requiring: 6 ft perimeter fences, signs every 100 yards, a ten foot berm "encircling" the property, and an on-site NRA certified instructor whenever the range is in operation.

Zeke/PA
May 17, 2013, 09:14 AM
My Shooting Club is only a 10 minute drive from my house and so far it's stable. However, club officials stress the importance of not agrivating the neighbors.
Shooting hours and range safety are strictly adhered to and recent construction has taken place to eliminate stray bullets.
However with current development in many vanes, one wonders.

Bruno2
May 17, 2013, 09:26 AM
We had a problem with bullets finding their way from Tulsa Gun Club onto the tarmac at the Air National Guard's runway. There was a huge fuss made about it and the pistol range was closed down temporarily. The Tulsa County Sheriffs dept leased the pistol range and had their own private area where they trained right beside ours. Their portion didn't get shutdown b/c they had to train and they are law enforcement so they are more safe when it comes to handling firearms than regular citizens.

To say the least we were furious at whoever was shooting over the berm that is only 50 yds from the line. The pistol range was closed for a couple of months and lo and behold the National Guard found more projectiles on their tarmac. Upon further inspection there were many holes shot in the metal roof above the firing line. Also its not like the roofline hangs out more than 2 or 3 ft past the front of the line so someone had to be deliberately shooting holes in it. So we carried our findings and complaints to club management and the pistol range was re opened. We also wrote several nasty letters to TCSO regarding their unsafe shooting habits and lack of respect for private property.

As sad as it is the Sheriffs had access to the range when it was closed to the public as well as the Boy Scouts. The only time we have had snacks and drinks stolen from the snack bar (which is honor system regulated) was when the sheriffs were there unsupervised. Never when the regular members were there and never when the boy scouts were there.

akv3g4n
May 17, 2013, 09:28 AM
Similar story to BaltimoreBoy's. My father-in-law is a member of a club managed range in FL. Apparently, they had an issue with a neighbor claiming that there were bullets striking her house from the range. Thankfully, once the local sheriff got involved, it was pretty obvious that the woman had staged the damage and the bullets had not originated from the range. I forget the specifics on how it was determined, but his range is still going strong now a few years later....

Outlaw Man
May 17, 2013, 09:50 AM
Could someone explain to me how a chain link fence would have prevented this, if the round came from the range? Or is it the signs that stop the bullets? That must be it, since they stop guns from crossing.

Sadly, I think this is going to become more common. I fear this will be backdoor gun control. "Nobody's taking your guns away. We're just saying you can't use them." I really hope we're nowhere near that point.

icanthitabarn
May 17, 2013, 09:53 AM
I am pretty sure someone in Ct. made trouble by saying her house was hit by a round from a shooting range. She produced an empty case as proof. Good luck out there.

MErl
May 17, 2013, 10:02 AM
*censored* was considering that range last year when the fire bans shut down all the public land but the wait list nixed that idea. It does sounds like the rules are 100% designed to not have shooting ranges though. 6' chain link? welcome to prison.

And this is just in time for this years fire bans.

AFAIK CRC (http://www.crci.org/Home/Membership/tabid/617/Default.aspx) is still taking members. It is even more out in the sticks though and you have to plan shooting around the scheduled use.

ETA
Could someone explain to me how a chain link fence would have prevented this, if the round came from the range? Or is it the signs that stop the bullets? That must be it, since they stop guns from crossing.

Sadly, I think this is going to become more common. I fear this will be backdoor gun control. "Nobody's taking your guns away. We're just saying you can't use them." I really hope we're nowhere near that point.

The fence and signs are a "think of the children" thing. Keeps the *censored* from wandering around down range. As if people don't know how to climb a fence.

We may not be at that point of "well can have your guns and nowhere to shoot" but it is a goal. That rule about fencing says the county does not want ranges. Add that to suburban sprawl and houses encroaching to kill the existing ones, you get no ranges. Fire season is coming so public land will be off limits soon along the front range.

627PCFan
May 17, 2013, 10:12 AM
The West Virigina range was Sleepy Creek. WV DNR built a rifle range on the TOP of a mountain. Then the locals would place their targets on the top of the berms which are on top of the mountain.

I hope things get resolved there.

Uncle Richard
May 17, 2013, 12:18 PM
The West Virigina range was Sleepy Creek. WV DNR built a rifle range on the TOP of a mountain. Then the locals would place their targets on the top of the berms which are on top of the mountain.

I hope things get resolved there.

Im referring to a different range, Pedlar Run located a couple miles outside of Morgantown. Sorry to hear the same thing happened to Sleepy Creek.

pendennis
May 17, 2013, 12:34 PM
We've had similar problems. Our club has been in place since the early 1960's. The area has built up around us. One of our worst enemies is a trailer park. They're almost a mile southeast of the ranges, and the ranges all point east.

About five years ago, the local police got a complaint from the trailer park, that a round had penetrated a home there. Police came, took a report, and contacted our club. We contacted our attorney, who contacted the police and the complaining party.

Seems that the "round" had entered the trailer from the EAST. As mentioned, our ranges all point EAST. Person then canceled the complaint when the attorney pointed out the impossibility of a round from our club.

It's worth every penny for us to have an attorney on retainer.

rondog
May 17, 2013, 12:45 PM
Sent you a PM, Coloradokevin.....

And on a similar note - my fear is, with all these new and proposed gun laws, magazine size limits, etc., will LEO's start stalking ranges now, doing "spot checks" on our guns and equipment for "compliance"??? That will REALLY piss people off!

Ed Ames
May 17, 2013, 12:51 PM
This happens a lot in Texas. Several nearby ranges have been shut down, one is in the process of being shut down (they are currently running under a court order of "no rifle bullets over .300 diameter"). It's difficult to find a place to shoot rifles now.

Anyone remember that DA in Kauffman county TX who was, along with his wife, murdered half a year or so ago? He had started the process of shutting down a range shortly before dying.. As I recall it, that case is going to court in September (with a different DA of course).

That is all AFTER Texas passed a range protection law in 2011.

MErl
May 17, 2013, 12:53 PM
public areas possibly, but those are getting shut down all the time.
private ranges are private property and police wont be welcome if they start trying spot checks (unless they happen to be members).

SabbathWolf
May 17, 2013, 12:59 PM
Colorado laws are so crazy anyways...your range should file a counter-suit and claim that someone's house intentionally stopped one of their customers bullets.

ngnrd
May 17, 2013, 01:05 PM
This sounds like trying to make the local grocery store upgrade their electrical system to new standards because a pedestrian claims they got hit by a car in their parking lot. It just doesn't make sense.

Besides, "it could have happened like you said it did" isn't really proof of guilt in this country these days, is it?

Pay an attorney to draft a letter telling the County to provide proof that the range violated the law, and that the law that was violated provides penalties that include cessation of activities. If they have any legal standing for shutting you down, such notification should be made through a court order, not from the office of the Planning Commission.

Also, draft a letter letting the County know that you would be willing to grant them a construction easement so that they can upgrade the perimeter control to current standards, at no cost, if they feel it's necessary, but that they will have to work around the range operating hours, as you will continue to operate under the conditions in place when the range was built.

Likewise, draft a letter to the homeowner stating that any false accusations against the range shall be addressed by suit in civil court.

Drafting a couple of letters has got to be a lot cheaper than four miles of perimeter control that still wouldn't stop a bullet from being launched over it. They have a case? Make them prove it.

walt501
May 17, 2013, 01:20 PM
I also belong to a private range started decades ago when the area was all farms and woods. Today several high dollar new homes dot the landscape in the area. We have both a pistol and a rifle range along with a trap range. Even though we're a private club, the local police have used our range for practice for many years at no charge. We also host several youth gun safety classes throughout the year. My point is that even though it is a private club, we go out of our way to cultivate good community relations. I hope other ranges are doing something similar to be seen as a benefit to their local communities.

oneounceload
May 17, 2013, 01:21 PM
Could someone explain to me how a chain link fence would have prevented this,

Helps keep out unwanted folks when the range is not in operation - 6' isn't bad - many I have seen have 8' PLUS barbed wire

double bogey
May 17, 2013, 01:27 PM
Ed Ames, which range are they trying to shut down in Kaufman Co?

Certaindeaf
May 17, 2013, 01:31 PM
Pretty dang sickening.
Today's range is an underground closet.

Ed Ames
May 17, 2013, 01:37 PM
Double bogey,

http://www.northeasttexastactical.com

12many
May 17, 2013, 01:45 PM
how far from the house to firing line?

What was the trajectory of the bullet when it entered the house?

What caliber was the bullet?

Did the bullet have rifling marks?

Was anyone at the range at that time? Does your range keep track of this info?

Who owns the land? Anyone trying to buy the land to put up houses? Easier to sell the land when the range is already closed. Avoid the fight with the shooters.

Keep asking these types of questions. Can you build up the firling line on a large berm so you are firing downward. Can you build a roof over the firling line so any shots angled up enough to exit the range would hit the roof? Is the range public? Can someone sabatage the range by doing this purposfully?

Anyone can fire a gun at any time at any location. AD and ND happen everywhere, not just ranges. Detroit is full of bullet holes and no ranges in sight.

I am told something similar happened at my local range where it hit near campground but bullet did not have rifling marks and hence was not shot out of gun.

desidog
May 17, 2013, 01:47 PM
I am pretty sure someone in Ct. made trouble by saying her house was hit by a round from a shooting range. She produced an empty case as proof. Good luck out there.

Blue Trail Range, in Wallingford. A neighbor "found" a "spent" .50BMG about two miles away that miraculously had no rifling marks. Years of legal battle later, the 200 yard range was shut permanently, and a ton of loot was spent to build up a huge backstop on the 100yd.

To pay for all that, they raised their rates: $32 first hour, $10 each additional hour on weekends.

And these days you can't even drive to the range with a loaded standard capacity magazine! ...

It's not rocket science to figure why i don't shoot there anymore...

double bogey
May 17, 2013, 02:00 PM
Thanks Ed. I didn't know they were even there. The one in Garland is under fire also.

md2lgyk
May 17, 2013, 02:01 PM
We had a similar incident at my gun club, which has been around since the 1950s. Some guy who lived nearby found bullet holes in his barn. Fortunately, being a retired Marine sniper, he wasn't interested in trying to close the range, just in finding out what was going on and correcting it One of our members, a pilot, took aerial photos that showed there was no way any rounds hitting the guy's barn could've come from our range. Upon further investigation, after the guy found a tear gas canister in his yard, it was determined that the escapees were from the police range next door.

We have also had issues with people building houses close to the range and then complaining about the noise. Too bad for them - the county has a range protection ordinance so they get nowhere.

cassandrasdaddy
May 17, 2013, 02:20 PM
we had a decent indoor range shut down. no rounds ever escaped but someone opened a daycare and invoked " for the children". the landlord closed the range down. (he also rented to daycare)
darn shame

Sav .250
May 17, 2013, 02:24 PM
"...............didn`t meet current criteria..........."

Ken70
May 17, 2013, 02:37 PM
They need to put a steel or concrete roof over and downrange from the firing line. So somebody cannot get a round out of the range.

MErl
May 17, 2013, 02:40 PM
They need to put a steel or concrete roof over and downrange from the firing line. So somebody cannot get a round out of the range.
in related news, range dues will be increasing slightly next year... :)

tomrkba
May 17, 2013, 03:04 PM
We caught people trying to get the local IWLA range closed. They were caught firing rounds into the air just outside the gate. This is in a metropolitan area and these people were very lucky those bullets did not hit a person.

627PCFan
May 17, 2013, 03:17 PM
"We caught people trying to get the local IWLA range closed. They were caught firing rounds into the air just outside the gate. This is in a metropolitan area and these people were very lucky those bullets did not hit a person. "

Thats insane.

Old Dog
May 17, 2013, 03:32 PM
An unfortunate epidemic nationwide. One of our local ranges, a well-established club, was shut down ... the county went after the club saying that a lot of maintenance work was done without proper permits, neighbors complaining about noise ("full-auto" fire, even) and stray rounds impacting in their yards ... all hearsay, nothing provable. Oh, and of course, the range pre-dated the homes in the area. An injunction was obtained, the battle goes on ...

Bruno2
May 17, 2013, 04:10 PM
I don't know why people build by a range that has been open for yrs and yrs then think they have a right to have it closed. Pretty silly. They should have built elsewhere.

josiewales
May 17, 2013, 04:15 PM
Is that Adams County PA?

SilentScream
May 17, 2013, 04:50 PM
When I lived in Phoenix there was an attempted shut down of Ben Avery range by residents of Anthem Az. The complaint was of noise from range operations. Keep in mind that Anthem is not only 5 miles away but also there is at least two sets of hills in between.
Thankfully their suit was thrown out of court as I remember.

hso
May 17, 2013, 06:34 PM
Lawyer up and fight the charge.

RJTravel
May 17, 2013, 06:51 PM
Only one remedy for Colorado - pass a law against making more people. Some 3 or 4 decades ago we had USFS land for shooting 15 minutes south of Denver. Now closed. Another in the Pike NF is essentially off limits due to the efforts of one man - he spends his summers harassing responsible shooters and now he pitches a tent on weekends and puts up a sign "campground" - even had one young man cited for shooting into a tree. Never mind it was a dead tree and it had been used to fasten targets for many years. Can't shoot trees in Colo. He was assessed a $500 fine. It is not possible to placate everybody, and it only takes one person. It is sad.

gym
May 17, 2013, 06:51 PM
What HSO said, is the only thing left to do. If the members number in the hundred + range, then you are talking about a 10 or 20 dollar contribution, and the principal of the thing. Isn't one member an attorney? usually there are a few retired lawyers around, you should be able to straighten this out

Steve CT
May 17, 2013, 06:52 PM
Regarding the situation in CT:

This was shown to be part of a campaign by a developer who bought "downrange" property behind a long established and well run range. The range put many (unneeded?) structures and procedures in place at considerable cost. The challenges were found to be without merit and "suspicious" in origin. There was a significant grassroots campaign by local shooters to raise money to successfully fight the legal challenges to continue to operate a range that existed for MANY years prior to the purchase of the downrange land for real estate speculation purposes

316SS
May 17, 2013, 06:57 PM
Lawyer up and fight the charge.

Agreed. And hire an attorney with some land use experience. If Colorado is the same as California, there are clear limits on when the county can demand that an existing facility be brought up to current standards.

Edit: Just realized that the wording "If Colorado is the same as California" might be cringe-worthy to the members from Colorado. Sorry guys and gals!:(

Onward Allusion
May 17, 2013, 07:03 PM
Heh, was there ANY forensic review performed? Something doesn't sound right.

308win
May 17, 2013, 07:17 PM
Based on the OP it sounds to me like the sheriff's investigation left a lot to be desired. If the investigation was inconclusive what basis would the hearing officer have to order the range to close unless the commissioners are anti-2A?

12many
May 17, 2013, 07:32 PM
It is also odd that you are hearing about it after the fact. Usually, you want the membership at the hearings and contacting the commissioners and sheriff, if someone knows the sherrif. Was this all done and decided in secret?

Deer_Freak
May 17, 2013, 07:44 PM
You really don't know what is causing a given range to close. The management might be ready to turn the range into a subdivision. I raise hay for racing stables. I do alright but I could make a small fortune by subdividing my property. The day I decide to sell off my land I will make more than I have all my life.

Ranges here in NC are facing the same issues. People are shooting their own house then they call 911 and complain about stray bullets. One idiot tried to claim his home was hit by birdshot from close to a mile away.

B&C_C
May 17, 2013, 09:34 PM
Kinda late - but Rondog - I've read a warning about ranges in NYC or suburbs there of. A year ago I was planning a visit & was checking the laws. LEO's were known to be snooping at the range. I believe one incident involved a confiscation that was disputed. Also, even on the NRA web site, are cases they were fighting on Pistols in Airline luggage being confiscated by port authority in NYC. Nixed that trip!

B&C_C
May 17, 2013, 09:39 PM
I've been to that range/club outside KC. Fenced, takes a code to open the gate. Mostly farm land around it and Flood berms for when the Missouri River backs up the Kansas River.
Doubt a developer would try to move in. A Nice shooting club though.

vtail
May 17, 2013, 10:19 PM
This same thing has been going on with small airports for years.

Airport has been "in the country" for years, subdivisions spring up all around the airport, suddenly, people complain about the noise and the "danger to the children", and all of a sudden, they want the airport shut down.

Deltaboy
May 17, 2013, 10:31 PM
My favorite range had a land owner behind him sell out and the built a subdivision so the new neighbors started complaining and now we can't shoot there before 9am. So I quit going cause I liked shooting at 7 am in June ,July,and August and being home by 9 am since it is an outdoor range. I still go to the gun shop.

Hardtarget
May 17, 2013, 11:49 PM
This sort of news is worrisome to say the least! The club I shoot with has been there since 1949. the last few years have seen more and more homes getting closer and closer...like most other ranges.

We get a news letter every month with an encouragement to "get to the range! Let the new neighbors hear us USE the range!" We want them to know we're active and remind them that shooting is loud. :D

Even in the best of times four range trips in a year are about all I can put together. Makes me sick to think of it being closed.

Mark

kendak
May 18, 2013, 12:09 AM
I feel for you folks that have to shoot on a "range or club" ...here in Miss. there are thousands of acres of frarmland & woods that we can shoot on all day anytime except when turnrows are muddy [don't want to rut them up & make owner mad] ...grudge & drainage ditches with plenty of snakes, turtles, coydogs & wild pigs...I also set up a 1000yrd. range on the edge of a friends rice field with benches to test loads...cost me $1 per year rent...5mi from nearest road or home so no one evan knows you're there...good luck & take care...Hardtarget "4 trips a year!!!" man I shoot 5 or 6 days a week come visit me in the MS. delta !!!!!!!!!!

Powder burn
May 18, 2013, 12:23 AM
I used to belong to the Project 2000 shooting range in El Cajon CA. it was built in the back of a rock quarry. They blasted rock every day at around 4:30 the rock crushers made quite the racket. The range had been established for years when some ding dongs with more money than sense built custom homes at the top of the cliffs about 150 yards up. Due to claims that shots were fired at the house and we were too noisy we has to end all outdoor rifle shooting except black powder. and fully enclose the rifle and pistol range.
I swear the words stupid and liberal are synonymous. It seems to run rampant in CA. i used to be a RO there but working the indoor range was too stressful. I was supposed to police the ceiling and look for new bullet holes in the steel plates angled from the ceiling, and exposed drywall, and assess a fine to the shooter on that lane. I am not asking a bad shot with a gun to cough up cash. It always amazed me how someone could be such a bad shot as to hit the ceiling.Anyway I saw which way the winds were blowing and left CA almost 9 years ago. I can have a CC and fun toys now :-p I hope it falls into the sea.

JRH6856
May 18, 2013, 12:52 AM
Is it just me or does that chain link fence seem really high
It might be just a bit high, (http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_install_chain_link_fence.html) but 4 miles of chain-link fence is not cheap at any price.

Field Tester
May 18, 2013, 02:28 AM
Powder Burn,

The even funnier thing about P2K is that the deer in the mountain backstop don't seem to mind the noise yet the residents do. I've shot trap there a few times and have seen as many as 8 deer a few hundred yards up not caring about the noise from the shotguns. Made me chuckle.

PavePusher
May 18, 2013, 02:43 AM
We had a problem with bullets finding their way from Tulsa Gun Club onto the tarmac at the Air National Guard's runway. There was a huge fuss made about it and the pistol range was closed down temporarily. The Tulsa County Sheriffs dept leased the pistol range and had their own private area where they trained right beside ours. Their portion didn't get shutdown b/c they had to train and they are law enforcement so they are more safe when it comes to handling firearms than regular citizens.

To say the least we were furious at whoever was shooting over the berm that is only 50 yds from the line. The pistol range was closed for a couple of months and lo and behold the National Guard found more projectiles on their tarmac. Upon further inspection there were many holes shot in the metal roof above the firing line. Also its not like the roofline hangs out more than 2 or 3 ft past the front of the line so someone had to be deliberately shooting holes in it. So we carried our findings and complaints to club management and the pistol range was re opened. We also wrote several nasty letters to TCSO regarding their unsafe shooting habits and lack of respect for private property.

As sad as it is the Sheriffs had access to the range when it was closed to the public as well as the Boy Scouts. The only time we have had snacks and drinks stolen from the snack bar (which is honor system regulated) was when the sheriffs were there unsupervised. Never when the regular members were there and never when the boy scouts were there.
Time to set up some security cameras (and don't tell the LEO's).

PavePusher
May 18, 2013, 02:44 AM
I'm so pissed I could pee fire!

I think shooting sports are beginning to die a slow death in this country, for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is the fact that more and more shooting locations are disappearing, often due to increased legal/political pressure. I've watched this trend develop for the past couple of decades, and adjusted my shooting habits as required: one public range closes, move to another public range. When that range closes, move to national forest land, then move again when that area gets subjected to a closure order... and so on

But, I felt that I'd finally solved that problem a few years ago after I joined a well-established private shooting club out in the sticks, not too far from the Denver metro area. For the past few years I've been a member of the Wildlife Hunters Association of Colorado, and enjoyed shooting out to 600 yards on a regular basis... until today.

Now, thanks to an unproven accusation from a person who lives a couple of miles from the range, the range is no more. I received this sad e-mail from one of the range directors tonight (this is just a portion of it for public viewing):





Once again I find myself without a place that I can count on for shooting. I hope this situation somehow resolves itself, but the range owners are already planning to disperse the dues that have been collected from members for the remainder of the year. It kind of sounds like this one is a done deal.

How do we possibly keep shooting in the future if county regulations make it damn near impossible to operate a range? My friend looked through some Adams County regulations on ranges tonight, and said that they are requiring: 6 ft perimeter fences, signs every 100 yards, a ten foot berm "encircling" the property, and an on-site NRA certified instructor whenever the range is in operation. Yeah, all of that's real possible... especially for a 600 yard rifle range. Essentially, counties are regulating ranges out of business, and the problem found its way to my range today.
"a couple miles away"? Sounds like your org. needs to have the evidence produced, determine the caliber, and see if it's even physically possible for it to get that far. Proceed from that data point.

coloradokevin
May 18, 2013, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the words of support, everyone. As for the "back story" on this one, I simply don't know what it is. I didn't know anything was even in the works until I received the "closure" e-mail last night. I shot there on Monday with a couple of friends, and about ten other folks were at the range that day. If there was any hint that the club was going to be closed 3 days later, no one there knew anything about it.

I sent an e-mail to the club owner trying to get some additional information. I was aware of the allegation of a shot leaving the range and striking a house 2 miles away, but that allegation originated about a year ago (as far as I knew the whole thing was a done deal -- and it sounded as if that was the case when I talked to the club owners/organizers since that time).

Also, it sounds like the range wasn't directly shut down due to that allegation. Rather, it sounds like that someone complained (whether or not it was our fault), and then the county shut the range down on the basis of the fact that it doesn't have the OBVIOUSLY unaffordable perimeter fencing installed. Granted, fences don't stop bullets, and the only thing I ever saw downrange that was at risk was a horse that managed to get over the berm from an adjacent property -- at which time all shooting was immediately stopped, and the horse was directed home by the members who were shooting that day.



This same thing has been going on with small airports for years.

Airport has been "in the country" for years, subdivisions spring up all around the airport, suddenly, people complain about the noise and the "danger to the children", and all of a sudden, they want the airport shut down.

Don't remind me! I'm also a pilot, and get heartburn thinking about the death of general aviation as well. That's a topic I discuss on some other forums when I'm not crying about the death of recreational shooting around here! I take it you're a Bonanza guy?

Roadkill
May 18, 2013, 08:48 AM
I'm the maintenance guy at a small local rock quarry range. Hours are from 0900 until dark. Summertime I go to the range early to cut grass, weedeat, ect before it heats up. Several times I've arrived at 0700 and shooters would be set up and going. Also several times I've sent them home after being less than polite about why. Alabama has a range protection law but you cannot shoot before 0900. Yes it gets hot, and yes you have stuff to do later, and yes its stupid, and yes whatever but you knew it when you became a member (which won't be for long by the way) and go home. So my point is members can be stupid. Some even seem to work at it.

Pilot
May 18, 2013, 09:14 AM
Is this range near Watkins? I used to keep my plane at Front Range airport, and used to see signs for it out that way. I may be thinking of the Aurora club though. I hope things work out for you. Colorado is seeing dark days for gun rights at this time, but I believe ultimately gun rights will prevail.

x_wrench
May 18, 2013, 09:53 AM
that burns my backside. people move into an area, knowing full well there is a shooting range that has been there for decades. they KNOW they are DOWNRANGE from it, and then are totally surprised when a round, that MAY OR MAY NOT have even come from the range, hits their home. i certainly understand the possible implications of this. but realistically, in my opinion, the ZONING BOARD is clearly at fault here. they should not have allowed any homes to be built downrange from the club! and that goes for every established club in the country. firearms, WERE KEY in this countries founding. to throw shooting sports out the window so people can have a fancy house downrange (that will result in extra tax income for the county, which is the real issue here), is not right. why is the presumption of innocence NOT given to the range in a case like this. if the home owner wants to close the range, should not the burden of proof be on his shoulders?

Ed Ames
May 19, 2013, 11:35 AM
Doesn't that depend on which came first? (The range or the code.)

MErl
May 19, 2013, 11:50 AM
Ok. That's different. A complaint was filed. The complaint was investigated. The above violation was discovered.

Sorry dude. You guys are out of luck unless the membership wants to fork over the money for a fence that meets local codes.
If you spend the money to meet this insane code they'll add another requirement. Even if existing ranges got grandfathered eventually you'll need to upgrade something. A new building, some earthwork, something will require a permit eventually and at that time you'll have to meet current codes.

buck460XVR
May 19, 2013, 12:36 PM
Seems to me there was little effort made by the club to inform the members of a problem. My question would be why? Why weren't the club members informed of the hearings so they could attend? Why weren't the members informed earlier about the possibility of closure due to the process? This statement also seems to be quite contradictory..... If it did in fact come from our range, it would have been caused by someone who had an accidental discharge or miscalculated his/her aim, sending a projectile over the back berm. We all know the safety rules and helped each other enforce them; unfortunately our neighbor’s misconception of ballistic trajectories had negative implications on the life of our club In one sentence it states how it could have been a round that escaped the berm and in the next sentence blames the neighbor. Even tho the Sheriff's Dept claims it is a distinct possibility the round came from the club grounds.

We as shooters need to worry about how our shooting affects the safety of others. Unfortunately, not everyone that shoots makes this their priority....we read about it all the time on this forum.....and accidents happen. With the increase of new and inexperienced shooters and the increase in rounds shot by experienced shooters at ranges nowadays, the incidence of something like this has multiplied, and not just because of the anti's.


How many members does the organization have? Seeing as how they own a whole section of land containing 640 acres with improvements, the investment of $500,000 to make the range legal and to continue does not seem outrageous unless there are already other financial problems or there are bigger financial gains if the place closes.

jcwit
May 19, 2013, 01:50 PM
One of the local private ranges I belong to recently installed overhead berms, thus making it impossible for any rounds going over the berm from the firing line. Fairly simple solution and not overly expensive.

coloradokevin
May 19, 2013, 02:16 PM
Two thing:

1) around the time of the alleged round escaping the range there was an incident of nighttime vandalism in which the overhead covering on the rifle line and range safety signs were shot up. If a round left the range I'd bet that's when it happened. Otherwise you'd have to TRY to get a round off if this range. Also, the complaining resident didn't know when it happened from what I was told.

2) The code is ridiculous. Complying with such requirements would be tough for any range, let alone a 600 yard range on 640 acres out in the sticks. The range was around before this code change. County building codes are all but making it impossible to have a range out there these days.

hso
May 19, 2013, 02:30 PM
If the range has a board of directors you should request a board meeting and get them talking to the right people.

Ask CO Division of Wildlife for help since they administer the grants programs for third party ranges. Here's the contact info for the range grant program. The gentleman can probably direct you to the overall range programs folks who can send someone out to tell the operator if they're compliant with the state requirements and EXACTLY what needs to be done WRT fencing off the minimum required area (not the entire property).

Larry Strohl
Shooting Range Grant Program Coordinator
6060 Broadway
Denver, CO 80216
Office Phone (303) 291-7346

CO has a program supporting ranges that your range needs to look into. http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ShootingRanges/ShootingRangeGrants/Pages/RangeGrants.aspxhttp://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/ShootingRanges/SmallRangeMaintenanceGrantProgram/Pages/SmallRangeGrants.aspx

Grmlin
May 19, 2013, 03:00 PM
These people are the same kind that would move next to a military base and then complain about the noise from the ranges and how the vibrations from the artillery impacts are cracking their foundation and brick walls and vibrating their windows or that the jet and helicopter noise are to loud and keep them awake. In most cases these ranges like military bases were their long before most of the houses. If they are dumb enough to buy that close to one to bad. I love hearing people complain about these things it's the perfect opportunity to publicly embarrass them.

Interesting the base has been their since the early 40's when did you build or move into your house. Here's your sign!

buck460XVR
May 19, 2013, 03:08 PM
Is this the range/club involved?

http://wildlifehunters.com/index.html

Website says it's 80 acres, not 640, most 80 acre parcels are 1/4 X 1/2 mile, which would take a mile and a half of fence to surround, not 4 miles. Still....not a cheap venture. They also claim to have a waiting list for new members and current members hunt all over the world.....meaning asking to raise the membership fee probably wouldn't be a problem with most folk. While I know the range would have to be closed for a period of time until a solution is found, it seems a solution could be found......especially with some state matched grants as shown on hso's link. It seems a solution could be found, if a solution really is wanted, not only with the help of state monies, but with their expertise also. For your sake and the sake of the rest of the members I hope so. I'm not saying current building codes are acceptable or make sense. Being a builder by trade, I deal with them all the time. I also sympathize with your situation. According to the website, it seems like a great place to shoot for a yearly family membership fee of $200. I just am puzzled by the lack of communication to the members about a situation that affects them so severely.

Pointshoot
May 19, 2013, 03:53 PM
Used to live in Colorado many years ago. From the news I hear, it sounds like a completely different place now. From what I gather there is a serious anti gun agenda there. A place with a history of mountain men and rugged indivualists - - - what happened ?

You might want to check out small, rural communities far from major metro areas. I don't know if its true in your state, but in most places country people have a much more reasonable attitude toward guns and shooting than the average metro dweller. Maybe you can find a range where you can do your long range rifle shooting out in the country and use the indoor ranges in the city for handgun shooting. Of course, there are also national forests to go to and shoot; check out the local regs. Good luck to you.

denton
May 19, 2013, 07:26 PM
Thank you all!

I'm the Executive Officer of a local public shooting range. After reading this thread, I had about an hour long conversation with one of our state legislators, who would like to sponsor legislation here in Utah, protecting shooting ranges. He asked me to gather up some examples of range closings, which was easy, given the wealth of information you have given.

The Adams County case was very interesting, since the County Commission apparently never bothered to find out whether the round could have originated from the range. Absent that investigation, and given the fact that none of the remedies they required would have prevented the accident, my non-lawyer sense of the situation is that they acted capriciously and arbitrarily and left themselves open to legal action.

At any rate, we have an idea, we have some case studies, we have a Texas law to study, and we have a sponsor in the legislature.

BTW, we have a range staffed with volunteer Range Officers, and our club is $10 per family per day, or $60 per year. We have 10 bays, one of which is 100 yards. That alone is reason enough to love Utah!

kevin davis
May 19, 2013, 08:25 PM
i have enjoyed the comments in this section. a lot of ranges face these problems. ours went to the expense to raise and thicken the berms, put sound reducing roofs over the shooting areas ( which made the noise for the shooters worse), and putting fence all around the range to keep out unwanted people better. that and a lot more restrictions on taking guns from the vehicle to the shooting area (all of 5 feet) caused me to drop my membership in favor of shooting on my own property further away where there are no restrictions other than those imposed by safety and common sense.
what i have not seen here is the most obvious solution to noise--use of suppressors full time. no noise and better protections for our own hearing plus a little reduction in recoil for larger calibers. a common sense solution unfortunately banned by regulatory stupidity.

oneounceload
May 19, 2013, 09:29 PM
And yet - in the UK, with all of their strict gun laws, suppressors are sold OTC because it is a safety item........go figure

Ed Ames
May 19, 2013, 09:45 PM
Regarding suppressors and shooting ranges...

This setup is NOT a silencer per BATFE rules, and I've heard of people building them from oil drums. They would also help with people shooting way over a berm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=6nf1OgV449g#t=114s

Note: that will jump you to a part of a longer video, but it starts off showing what i'm talking about. I saw the link on another forum awhile ago.

Sapper771
May 19, 2013, 09:56 PM
ColoradoKevin,

I am sorry to hear about your range closing .

We had a similar situation occur nearby. Established private shooting range of 25 years. A subdivision gets built nearby. Residents complain, call police, file reports over noise from shooting. Nothing is done because nothing can be done. Residents start calling the police saying that the shooters are shooting their house. No evidence is found. One resident called the police and said he had evidence.....turned out to be aluminum metal shavings in his driveway. Another resident stated that a bullet went through his house. Turned out to be a hole in his interior wall, no bullet found. No holes anywhere else to indicate entry into the house. When asked about a possible negligent discharge buy the homeowner, the homeowner dropped the complaint.

The county filed a cease order on the landowner. They attacked the landowner saying that his land was not zoned for a shooting range. The landowner sued the county and won, but it took a lot of money and time. Money that he never got back.

I wish you luck,

Billll
May 20, 2013, 01:48 AM
Buck460: Yes, that's us. http://www.wildlifehunters.com/info.html is a satellite map. The actual range is south of the pointer, down the dirt road. The nearest house straight down range looks to be about 3 miles away. It's the one with the back drive going out to his own private pistol range. The complaining party could be one of his neighbors on either side.

I would think that if rifle fire was an issue, at least the shotgun and pistol facilities could be retained.

I hadn't heard anything about this at all until the shutdown e-mail came. Don't know about lawyers, but there are plenty of engineers who could have done a through analysis of the incident.

Yes, CRC is accepting members. Google says it's a 1 hour, 40 minute drive from my place. Any place closer has a 3-year wait list.

xxjumbojimboxx
May 20, 2013, 02:28 AM
This just reaffirms my thoughts that i need to buy some land, and i need to do it soon. Ive only got 3/4's of an acre at my homne proprty, not enough to shoot because im in city limits, and it would also be very unsafe... Either way, Im saving for somewhere around 50 acres in the texas hill country.. Im thinkin about selling my house, buying the land and puting a mobile home out there... I dunno.

breakingcontact
May 20, 2013, 02:41 AM
I don't see how 1 person making an allegation over 1 round could legally force your range to close.

leadcounsel
May 20, 2013, 02:44 AM
It is a shame, a darn shame.

I did read of an amazing new range opening in Firestone north of Denver. Check into it.

MErl
May 20, 2013, 09:54 AM
200yd indoor range
already has a waiting list
for full access is at least 5x the cost.

The 600yd range is the big loss. It is also the part of the range that makes covers infeasible, multiple firing lines.

PRM
May 20, 2013, 09:59 AM
Something is fishy. No one gives up that easy unless they have a reason out of view.

Yea... its called the legal system and that's based on money.

HOWARD J
May 20, 2013, 12:05 PM
I don't shoot outdoors as much as I used to.
New houses closed many ranges around here.
Most of the indoor ranges around here allow rifle now---what fun is a 25/ 30 yard rifle range.
I have to drive 70 miles now to a good outdoor rifle range.
The indoor ranges are even attacked with sound restrictions.
One indoor range was closed when a homeowner said a pistol bullet went thru the wall of the indoor range & hit his house---complete BS but the city closed it just on the complaint along with loud sound destroying the neighborhood.

HexHead
May 20, 2013, 12:47 PM
I don't see how 1 person making an allegation over 1 round could legally force your range to close.
My take on this is that it isn't being closed due to the one round per se. The complaint put the range on the planning commission's radar, and they want it closed until it meets their current compliance rules. Which from the OP's post, is unlikely to happen. It's a real shame too.

Ed Ames
May 20, 2013, 01:41 PM
You could end the above paragraph at "they want it closed."

clutch
May 20, 2013, 07:19 PM
It didn't. Read the article. The allegation prompted an investigation. The investigation revealed a violation of another pre-existed ordinance. The range's owners merely had to comply with the pre-existing ordinance, and they could have stayed open.

They determined it was too expensive.

The range was ordered closed, but not because of a stray bullet.

When was the range opened and when was the ordinance adopted? Did the affected operation get notice that such an ordinance was under consideration at whatever point in the past?

coloradokevin
May 21, 2013, 05:21 AM
Is this the range/club involved?

http://wildlifehunters.com/index.html

Website says it's 80 acres, not 640, most 80 acre parcels are 1/4 X 1/2 mile, which would take a mile and a half of fence to surround, not 4 miles. Still....not a cheap venture. They also claim to have a waiting list for new members and current members hunt all over the world.....meaning asking to raise the membership fee probably wouldn't be a problem with most folk. While I know the range would have to be closed for a period of time until a solution is found, it seems a solution could be found......especially with some state matched grants as shown on hso's link. It seems a solution could be found, if a solution really is wanted, not only with the help of state monies, but with their expertise also. For your sake and the sake of the rest of the members I hope so. I'm not saying current building codes are acceptable or make sense. Being a builder by trade, I deal with them all the time. I also sympathize with your situation. According to the website, it seems like a great place to shoot for a yearly family membership fee of $200. I just am puzzled by the lack of communication to the members about a situation that affects them so severely.

Yes, that's the place. And, I agree with what you are saying. In fact, I've talked to at least 5 members since it happened (all VERY active members like myself) and no one had heard anything about this happening prior to the e-mail we all received.

There's definitely not 640 acres worth of range upon which we are shooting. The 80 acres stated on the website sounds far more accurate. The property may very well be 640 acres, but the portion we're using is not.

The more I think about it (and talk about it with other members) the more it seems like maybe there's something else going on behind the scenes that I/we haven't heard about yet. I e-mailed the head of the organization, but have heard nothing back yet. I wanted to give him a couple of days to deal with the onslaught of questions he's probably receiving, but I plan to call him in the next day or two to discuss the issue by phone.

The thing about this club is that it wasn't run as the typical non-profit shooting club. The two guys in charge were turning a profit off of the place, so it wasn't like this was an organization that was run by board-rule. Nevertheless, they always kept the rates very reasonable, and the rules were very easy to deal with at this place. As such, the loss of such a facility is substantial to those of us who used it.

Many of us regularly shot with the guy who ran the place (myself included), and none of us have heard anything else about this situation other than the e-mail we received (at least so far as I've heard yet). It's a strange situation, and the lack of communication is uncharacteristic of this club.

I mean, here's a few things that I can think of:

1) If this case was looming in court, why not solicit the help of members in fighting it?

2) If someone alleged that a round came from our range, why not make them attempt to prove it?

3) Since that allegation occurred about a year ago, why is it just now affecting the range?

4) If there's a legal battle to be fought, why not fight it with the membership dollars instead of refunding all of that money and disbanding the organization? Or, even solicit some extra money from the members due to an unusual hardship that could force the closure of the range?

5) Since the range was existing prior to this code change, why not fight to have it grandfathered? Codes constantly change, and a five year old house often isn't up to current code... that doesn't mean that the house becomes unusable.

Frankly, I don't know what's going on here, but it's a strange situation. One of my friends from the range is planning to contact the landowner for more information in the next few days (the land was leased to our shooting club, and is owned by a farmer in that immediate area). Perhaps he'll be able to shed some light on that situation, and perhaps he'll be able to help us reopen a shooting facility on those grounds if everyone else decides to bail out.

The other rumor I've heard in the last few days is that the county didn't actually serve legal papers on anyone affiliated with this land, or this range. The rumor I heard (and it is strictly rumor) is only that the county commissioner's office advised one of the club owners by telephone that they range was no longer authorized. I have NO idea if this is true or not, but that kind of statement would have received a reply from me along the lines of: "Okay, if that's the case you guys need to serve me with some sort of notice explaining this situation so that I can present it to my lawyer for review". I wouldn't take a verbal "don't shoot anymore" from some elected official. That's not how zoning changes are made, and that's not how code violations are enforced.

I do hope this situation gets worked out, because I had every intention of shooting on this property for many years to come. The biggest frustration is the lack of information we've received about the situation (other than that surprise e-mail).

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