Controversy over shooting range expansion plans

Posted at: 01/02/2013 10:28 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The popping of historic and replica weapons at the Founders Ranch in Torrance County mostly hasn't bothered nearby residents, but they are quite concerned about plans to expanding the shooting range, which includes a public rifle range.

Residents are worried about noise pollution and are concerned their homes would be in range of bullets from rifles.

"Have grandkids that come out and they love to run on the property. We love to let them. It's not a safe area for them anymore," said Debbi Donis, who lives near the range.

There is also concern about bullets flying to nearby Route 66 Elementary School. "There is no way in the world a bullet here is going to leave here and hit the school," said Gerry Baker with the Single Action Shooting Society. He said the SASS Board of Directors owns the ranch.

Baker said shooters with the proposed rifle range would not be shooting in the direction of the school. He said they would be firing into the side of a mountain.

Baker also said the area has trained range officers who are just feet away to supervise those shooting.

Shotguns are currently fired at the range. Baker said there is some noise but not enough to be considered a nuisance by the EPA. Baker said the ranch is working to lower noise levels even more.

In regards to traffic concerns for proposed events, Baker said the ranch is currently working on a traffic plan. He said anyone with concerns may visit the shooting range and ask questions. A public hearing on the issue is set for next Wednesday in Torrance County.