Outdoor gun ranges around the country are encountering resistance from neighbors and local officials over concerns about noise, safety and lead contamination, USA Today reports.
Some face criticism because they’ve expanded from neighborhood ranges to big businesses that host national tournaments, while other take heat because they have expanded their hours or feature louder and more powerful weapons.
In St. Cloud, Minn., a shooting range called the Del-Tone/Luth Gun Club was shut by county officials after a woman who lived a half-mile away was struck in the face by what she believes to be a bullet.
Louise Neeser suffered permanent eye and jaw damage, and has had debilitating headaches, since something tore through the side of her face while she was working in her yard.
As a result of legal action by the county, the nearby gun club has made safety improvements but still must pass a certification review before it can reopen for pistol shooting. Del-Tone owner Randy Luth said that, as a result, his club has lost tournaments and classes, a financial setback that a lot of gun clubs could not afford.
Still, Neeser and her husband, Mark, are concerned the range’s changes don’t go far enough.
“I just want to live here and be safe,” Mark Neeser said. “That should be the right everybody has on their property.”
Other examples cited by USA Today: the closing of the Farragut State Park shooting range in Idaho after neighbors sued over noise and stray bullets; safety improvements made by the Bracken Rifle and Pistol Range near San Antonio, Tex., after residents reported finding bullets on their roof; and a lawsuit by county officials against the Kitsap County Rifle and Revolver Club near Bremerton, Wash., which is accused of being a public nuisance and a safety hazard.
“Are they under threat? Absolutely they are,” said Andrew Arulandandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Assn. The pro-gun lobbying organization is offering shooting ranges legal assistance, and has helped pass range protection laws in 47 states.