The Clarksville Montgomery council have decided for us where we can shoot.
Clarksville, TN. is located outside the gates of Fort Campbell, KY. (Trust me.)
Regulations in sight for gun ranges
By REGAN LOYOLA CONNOLLY
Bill Prettyman's farm used to be a place where he could escape from the gunfire he heard at Fort Campbell.
But now he can't escape the gunfire just down the road from his house on Cooper Creek Road in the county.
His relaxing evenings have turned into a continuation of his experiences on an M-16 firing range, even though the property on Cooper Creek isn't zoned as a firing range.
"They're out there shooting all day long and on Sundays," he said. "It's like having high-velocity weapons going off in my living room."
Prettyman has taken his concerns to the Clarksville-Montgomery County Planning Commission, which is expected to vote on proposed gun range regulations at the Aug. 25 meeting.
The regulations, which have been on the back burner for most of the year, mirror those backed by the National Rifle Association.
Safety, noise abatement and environmental responsibility are three of the most important aspects of the regulations, which would prevent people from setting up makeshift ranges without proper zoning.
The proposed regulations require anyone wanting to build a firing range to submit a plan to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The plan would include proposals for traffic flow, noise abatement, landscape with a buffer strip along property lines and sewage facilities.
Pros and cons
Keith Lampkin, senior planner with the Planning Commission, said the ordinance is designed to increase safety.
"Bullets can travel a long distance, and we want to make sure that if bullets are fired, they aren't going to hurt anyone," he said. "The county is growing so fast, and 10 years ago, you could shoot anywhere in the county and no one would hear it. But now it would be hard to shoot in the county and have no one hear it."
But David Adkins, a local hunting instructor and president of the local chapter of the Friends of the National Rifle Association, said he fears the regulations will inhibit youngsters from learning how to shoot safely.
"I want to ensure shooting ranges are built safely, but it sounds like they want to regulate how many rounds of ammunition you discharge per day," he said. "If I have 100 students in one of my classes, they each need to discharge four or five rounds so you know they can handle a firearm safely and you can issue them a certificate."
Adkins said the proposed construction of a $2 million advanced shooting sports complex off Chapel Hill Road in Southside is a step in the right direction.
Montgomery County Wildlife Officer Jereme Odom wants to develop a facility that would serve as a hunter education center, an outdoor training area and a central facility where students from regional high schools and middle schools could participate in the Scholastic Shooting Sports Program. The shooting complex would have skeet and trap ranges, a sporting clays range, five-stand shotgun ranges, a 300-yard rifle range, a 50-yard pistol range and an archery range.
The county recognizes only one privately owned gun range -- On Target on Guthrie Road -- as existing in the county. There is also a private gun range on Franklin Street owned by the Police Department.
Lampkin said if the Planning Commission approves the guidelines this month, the County Commission and City Council could vote on them as early as September.
As for Prettyman, he said he looks forward to having his quiet county life back.
"Progress is being made, but once these regulations are passed, there also has to be enforcement," he said.
The following are highlights of proposed gun range regulations to be voted on by the Clarksville-Montgomery County Planning Commission later this month:
Public and private outdoor firing ranges allowed only in agricultural-zoned land as a "use permitted on review by the Board of Zoning Appeals."
No shooting station or target area allowed within 1,000 feet of any property line, public street or dedicated street easement.
Discharge of ammunition limited to between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Use of full automatic weapons, use of explosive devices and sale of firearms prohibited.
Sale or consumption or alcoholic beverages prohibited at the site, and lodging facilities not allowed.
Ranges must be designed to contain all bullets, shot and debris.
Hrm.... what about a "private" range... treated as personal property w/o memberships and permission needed to enter?