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(WA) Gun range has some up in arms

Discussion in 'Legal' started by JeanC, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. JeanC

    JeanC Well-Known Member


    Thursday, July 17, 2003


    Gun range has some up in arms
    Steve Thompson
    Gun range owner Joel Carr, who lives on the site, has repeatedly battled back to keep his 20-year-old range open to the public.

    Tom Lutey - Staff Writer

    One man's black powder playground is another's backyard Beirut. That was the case Wednesday as gun enthusiasts debated Mica neighbors over expanding the local gun range.

    "This range. I have heard people shooting things up at 10 o'clock at night," said Larry Beck, an exasperated neighbor. "Fifty-caliber weapons, automatic weapons. Immediately south of this property is a county-approved subdivision that I own. This firing range has been detrimental to lot sales."

    Neighbors have complained to Spokane County for years about the shots from Mica Gun Range that echo through the valley. More than a dozen showed up Wednesday at the Public Works Building to discourage the county from approving an expansion.

    Gun range owner Joel Carr who lives on the site, has repeatedly battled back to keep his 20-year-old range open to the public. The range on Carr's 320-acre property has prevailed, though government officials have shortened the leash on its allowed uses.

    Wednesday, the Spokane Falls Muzzle Loaders, one of the larger groups using the range, approached Spokane County about opening the upper reaches of Carr's land for black powder rifle competitions and mountain men rendezvous. The muzzleloaders use the type of lead-ball and gunpowder weapons trappers and soldiers relied on in the first half of the 19th century, back when ammunition was loaded by pushing it down the end of the barrel.

    "I don't think it would be adding any significant use to the area, as we're using the range on a monthly basis as it is," said Sal Fusari, a muzzleloader.

    There are two muzzle-loading groups who use the site. Together their members number more than 80. Neighbors told Spokane County hearing examiner Mike Dempsey that the black powder gatherings are often kicked off with a thunderous group rifle fire.

    People living around the range objected to the expansion based on noise, fire danger and the risk of lead contamination from discarded shot. Some likened living next door to Carr to living beside a war zone.

    Gun proponents pointed out that lead balls, like those shot from muzzle-loaded rifles, doesn't spark and are easily cleaned up. The group clung to its proposal because it is running out of places to go.

    Society isn't making more gun ranges, Fusari said after the hearing. The amount of paperwork required to use U.S. Forest Service and state lands has made impromptu outings impossible, he said. Consequently, Fusari said, shooting clubs of all types have come to rely on private ranges, which are giving way to housing developments and new neighbors who like things quiet.

    Clubs aren't the only parties shooting at Mica Gun Range. The Spokane County SWAT team has used the upper portion of Carr's 320 acres for tactical maneuvers. The SWAT team was days from returning to the range last fall when county officials confirmed the range's right to exist, but declared the upper reaches of Carr's property off limits. City and state police have used the site, also.

    Carr used to open the shooting range at dawn and close it at dusk. Demand for the range is still strong, but the hours are now 2 p.m. to nightfall.

    Tuesday, Carr refuted allegations by neighbors that night SWAT team maneuvers had lead to trespassing and confrontations with startled neighbors.

    •Tom Lutey can be reached at 927-2179 or by e-mail at toml@spokesman.com.
  2. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    Full-auto? Liar.

    Full-auto is specifically prohibited in the State of Washington. Period. Even for LEO, unless Department owned.

    If the idiot did not want the noise, why did they buy land around a GUN RANGE? :cuss: :fire: :banghead:

    Dorkimus Maximus.
  3. Orthonym

    Orthonym Well-Known Member

    "This firing range has been detrimental to lot sales.":fire: :what: :cuss:

    This reminds me entirely too much of Florida and our loathesome, evil, zoning Nazis! This is one of the many reasons I will never, ever, vote for a Repubican (stet) except to avoid something even worse. (As I did in 2000. You listening, W?) . Somehow I thought one's lot was where he built his house and minded his own business, not a speculative asset. Silly me!

    P.S. For the curious, I'm a John Ross Democrat by preference, but since there are only 2 or 3 of us left I registered as a Libertarian.
  4. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'd like to swap properties with that Larry Beck.
  5. deanf

    deanf Well-Known Member


    I'm always driving onto Forest Service land and shooting the place up just about anywhere it's safe. Never has there been the requirement of paperwork.
  6. sanchezero

    sanchezero Well-Known Member

    What kinda freakin moron develops a subdivision next to a 20yr old shooting facility and then whines about the noise and its effect on lot sales?

    The kind hoping that with enough cash he can 'ordinance' the range outta business.

  7. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    THis subdivision guy is just trying to make a killing on his investment. How much do you think the guy paid for land adjacent to a shooting range? Whit it closed suddenly he is sitting on some prime real estate. Closing the range was probably part of his plan all along. And if you think this is inane nonsense, you should look up the crap that the Kenmore Range has to put up with.
  8. Kharn

    Kharn Well-Known Member

    Mr. Beck, you, sir, are a moron. :fire: The range has been there for 20 years and you complain as if they'd just shown up yesterday. I bet you just showed up within the last 5 years with the intention of having the county shut down the gun range so your precious subdivision could blossum at the expense of gun owners. Go whine to someone that cares.

    Something similar to this happened to a gun club near where I grew up, the developer even bought the land from the gunclub and had the balls to say he didnt know there would be gunfire at the gunclub. The judge almost fell out of his chair laughing his *** off at the developer, while trying to gather enough breath to tell the guy to get the heck out of his courtroom.

  9. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    People move in next door to an airport or a race track and complain about the noise. Or, next door to a feed lot and complain about the smell. The traditional "First come, first served" is totally down the drain for the "Me! Me! Me!" crowd.

    :(, Art
  10. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Well-Known Member

    This is a recurring problem for many ranges.

    The Delaware House of reps passed the range protection act in the last session, that says if you come to the nussiance you can FORGET filing any legal action.

    Why did the state propose this? Not to save any private ranges, but to save Ommelanden that state owned range, and the national guard armory / police range down the road. 1/4 mile away a new housing development is going up with 300 homes. The development is on the site of an abandoned gravel pit, across the road is the going gravel pit, down the road two ranges, and on the other side is a motocross park for offroad vehicles and dirtbikes. Nice quiet spot to build a house eh????

    Developers develop to make money, they dont give a rats ??? what happens after they sell to anyone.
  11. Powderman

    Powderman Well-Known Member

    I've been to Kenmore. Nice facility, and I can see what you're talking about. If you want another good example, take a look at Tacoma Rifle and Revolver club. It's surrounded by really nice homes, and the Wright Academy is just down the street.
  12. Alan Smithiee

    Alan Smithiee Well-Known Member

    lets not forget that there have been similar cases that were won by the plaintif (I'm thinking the golf course and the pig farm, the pig farm had been there for 20 years before the golf course, pig farm had to close down, it smelled dontchaknow)

    and this IS Spokane. where the mayor has his private roof top garden and tax payer paid relection staff and taxpayer replaced "Welcome to Spokane, John Powers Mayor" signs because the privatley paid for ones didn't have his Lordships name on them.
  13. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Well-Known Member

    We've got a similar situation going on with the club I belong to. Been there 50 years, when there was nothing nearby but farms. The owner of the land owned a small tavern just up the road, and liked the club. He died, and his daughter inherited the land.

    Subdivisions started popping up all around, and now we've got one that's just a few hundred yards beyond the treeline. Last September, police came to the range to investigate a shot that supposedly went over the treeline (which is at least 100 feet in height), went through the window of a new home, penetrated a cabinet door and lodged itself in a 2"x4" in the wall.

    This was from a .30 caliber rifle. We're supposed to believe that the rifle bullet began its descent after travelling just 500 yards, and still had the energy to penetrate two panes of glass and two pieces of wood.

    The range is covered by the state's Range Protection Act but, since the club leases the land from the new owner, the city could and probably will pressure her to evict us.
  14. rock jock

    rock jock Well-Known Member

    In this case, Mr. Beck may not have legal standing. But other cases are not always clear cut. Consider the family pig farms that went from 50-100 pigs to corporate ownership with several hundred or even thousands of pigs. What was once only a slightly annoying smell can soon become a continuous overpowering stench that ruins property values and makes life unbearable. Consider a shooting range that went from a single pistol range (with a low noise sgnature) to four or five ranges with FA and .50 BMG's. With the former, you could live nearby and never even hear a shot inside your living room. I am not a legal expert, but I have read of cases where a business significantly changes the scope of their practices to such a degree that it causes the neighbors problems. This does not appear to be such a case. I know that my own gun club two years ago purchased a buffer zone around the club to preclude any residential development.

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