The range we shoot at most often is unsupervised, relying on the common sense of the club members to be safe, respect the property and clean up after themselves. I've frequently commented how some shooters don't think the rule regarding picking up their brass applies to them. But, now we're seeing a new level of stupidity. And it has affected our ability to enjoy the range.
Last week I received an email from the club about the abuses. It seems some bozos have been shooting into the pond, at the picnic pavilion and other buildings, into power line poles and the supports for the covered shooting areas, among other places. Some of these deliberate abuses direct rounds in the direction of the roads and homes outside the property. What was once an occasional problem has become epidemic.
As a result of these activities, the board has unilaterally closed the ranges for a week. No one will be able to shoot. This is frustrating for me as I had specific practices I wanted to get in over the next few weeks in preparation for a major match. Unfortunately the club's directors have taken up the liberal mantra of punishing all gun owners for the crimes of a few. The closure is an extreme measure, as the illegal activity is limited to just a few people. There's no way to be sure, at this time, if they are even members, or trespassers.
I spoke to the Range Manager on the phone. As angry as I was, and still am, after speaking with the guy I do have some sympathy for his plight. He is at his wit's end. He patrols the range property when he can, but people who don't follow the rules aren't going to do it when he or anyone else is around. Like many ranges, as rural areas become less rural, the club is under scrutiny. If a round hits a car on the road, or a house nearby, we'll lose our place to shoot.
The good news is that the club is putting in cameras, using money that could have gone to range improvements, to remotely monitor the shooting areas. They will also keep recordings of the activities. I only hope that if the guilty parties are caught, they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We're looking at felony level destruction of property and firearms usage in a crime, so the penalties could be severe. I am a firm believer in the right to bear arms, however if a criminal conviction causes these morons to lose their rights, so be it. They will find no sympathy here.
Is this a growing problem? Do more people owning firearms mean more irresponsible shooters?
|The sign says "Do Not Shoot"|
|This pole is 180° from the range berms|