A firing range in Spencer remains closed after nearby residents claim their homes were hit with stray bullets. The local zoning board has heard the issue several times. It’s taking action to ensure safety from here on out.
Jerry and Kathy Wise bought their house a few years ago. It overlooks rolling farmland. But just on the other side of a cluster of trees sits Precision Gun Range.
Kathy says the sound of gunfire has never bothered them… that’s until one afternoon nearly two years ago. She was outside talking to a neighbor when suddenly, something whizzed by.
“We heard this wee-thump, and we looked at each other and said, ‘is that a bullet?’”
The gun range opened in 2016. It offered a 150-yard rifle range and a shorter pistol range, but it’s the rifle range at the center of the controversy.
More residents began complaining about stray bullets hitting their property. Kathy says they called police twice in one week.
Jerry says he even offered the range suggestions to make the operation safer.
“They stated in one of the sheriff department reports that they realized they had a problem, and they was going to put hay bales up,” Jerry says. “And that went on and on, and it never happened.”
The gun range says it’s not responsible for the bullets. Still, the Indiana State Police issued a report calling the range a public safety hazard. But attorney Martha A. Dean, who represents the gun range, says state police weren’t qualified to make that judgement.
“Here, they did not prove the projectiles come from precision, and they didn’t rule out other known shooting sources in the area,” Dean says.
The zoning board decided to close the rifle range a couple months ago. Board member Robin Cooper says the zoning board is working with the gun range to ensure safety.
“They’ve been working hard and diligently with the board trying to do all the recommended safety requirements that their own personal engineer has made recommendations for them to do,” Cooper says.
Gun range owners could finish making those safety adjustments by the end of the month. Once the facility completes the safety upgrades Owen County inspectors will make a final assessment.