Dozens pack city council meeting on shooting ranges

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VANDALIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Dozens of people packed a special city council meeting Tuesday night on shooting range regulations, including the owner and attorney for a Vandalia shooting range that recently had its permits revoked.

In November, city council issued a six-month moratorium on new shooting range permits. City leaders are now trying to create new regulations for shooting ranges.

This comes after Miami Valley Shooting Grounds had its permits revoked for alleged violations. The range’s indoor shooting permit was later granted, but the outdoor shooting range permit was denied.

Most of the speakers at Tuesday night’s meeting expressed support for Miami Valley Shooting Grounds, though there were a few who raised concerns about the range.

Meanwhile, city leaders told the crowd at the meeting that the issue isn’t about one particular shooting range and would affect any other ranges that want to open in the city in the future.

“All I ask is how many people can go home at night, sit at their dining room table, have dinner with their kids and don’t hear gunfire?” said one man at the meeting who lives near the shooting range and claims he can hear gunshots.

Brandon Quigley, who is a customer at Miami Valley Shooting Grounds and spoke in support of the range, said he “never had one question of safety.”

Vandalia’s city attorney presented a draft of possible shooting range regulations, covering topics like times when shooting is allowed, materials of targets and grounds for revoking a permit.

But Miami Valley Shooting Grounds attorney Timothy Rudd said he is concerned about a current lack of proposed guidelines for issuing permits.

“Our concern is that you create a criteria that, in this community, no one could meet,” Rudd said. “And we believe that any criteria that our current range wouldn’t meet would be patently unreasonable.”

Rudd said while he believes the range can work with some of the proposals mentioned, such as allowing inspections by police, he feels regulations should be left to the state.

“There should be a preemption issue because when there’s not, what you run into is you run into potential court battles, you run into costly litigation,” he said.

Some of the range’s supporters said they are open to local regulations, as long as the range can stay open.

Meanwhile, owner Dana Tackett has asked city council to allow him to operate his range as the issue of regulations is resolved, saying he has gone from making $4,000 a day to about $400 a week.

“I’ve got 15 people that are going to be unemployed if I don’t get some kind of temporary ordinance or something to help me reopen this range,” Tackett told city council.

The city attorney has invited Tackett and his attorney to speak with him by phone about reopening the range.

The city attorney declined our request for an interview due to Rudd’s plan to take legal action to appeal the outdoor permit decision.

There’s no timeline yet for when new regulations could be approved.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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