Shooting Range Plans Under Fire - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/10/04

Shooting Range Plans Under Fire

Gary Percival lives right across the street from the field where a developer wants to build a shooting range. 660 feet to be exact but that's too close for Percival who says having a firing range so close will drive away potential home buyers.

"It's a lot of noise," says Percival. "Property values are going to go down out here and I've got a considerable amount of money invested here in my home."

 Mothers like Deanna Rudd say they're worried about something even more precious.

 "We have children riding four wheelers and bikes and walking... you know... a stray bullet could hit them," said Rudd.

What makes matters worse, neighbors say is that no one has discussed any plans with the people who live on Rayford Shumock Road. In fact, Rudd says she didn't know anything at all until her son mentioned the plans.

"He told me 'Mom guess what? They're putting a firing range across the street from us'... I said WHAT? I was in shock," says Rudd. "They haven't said anything."

 Kenneth Bell is owns the land where the proposed shooting range is to be built. Last month he filed an application for a special exception to build the range. Bell says he's simply following the law and hasn't tried to hide anything. In fact, Bell says he's talked with several concerned neighbors about his plans already and he says most of them changed their view of his plans. Bell says the range will be layed out so that no people or property will be damaged or even threatened.

"No shooting will be going on toward any houses," says Bell. "There's no way anybody could get shot unless they walk out in front of that thing... and that's just stupid."

 In addition to building giant dirt mounds behind target areas Bell says he will meet and exceed all federal regulations for building and operating a shooting range. He even plans to take steps to muffle the sounds of gunfire.

"We're gonna plant some fir trees, plantation pines... something all the way around the perimeter... the boundary... to try to muffle the sound," said Bell.

 A public hearing will be held regarding Bell's application on Wednesday, December 15 at nine in the morning.

 Josh Ridgdell

12/09/04

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