Coalition opposes project Residents object to indoor rifle range

April 19, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Some South Carroll residents oppose a proposed indoor rifle range, the county's first, at an Eldersburg business park because of the children in the area, says the leader of the South Carroll Coalition.

A shooting range "has no place sandwiched between a high school and an indoor sports arena. I wish they'd find another place for it," said Kathy Horneman, the coalition's president.

"The issue is not the firing range itself. I see that need. It's just the wrong place for it," she said.

Pikesville attorney Jay L. Liner and Arbutus contractor Joseph R. Twilley have proposed opening the Top Gun Indoor Range at the Eldersburg Business Center, on Route 32 across the road from Liberty High School.

They will present their plan at a hearing April 27 at 1:30 p.m. before the Board of Zoning Appeals. County zoning law requires that the board give permission before an indoor shooting range may open.

The two men also are asking the zoning board to waive a county requirement for an indoor range to be 1,000 feet from homes, schools, churches or other institutions.

If the request is approved, the Top Gun Indoor Range would be the first indoor shooting facility in Carroll County.

The South Carroll Coalition, a 6-month-old citizens group, opposes the rifle range and will send representatives to the zoning hearing to voice that opposition, Ms. Horneman said.

Mr. Liner and Mr. Twilley want to rent 6,600 square feet in a warehouse at the business park.

Their space would be in the same building as Super Sports Inc., which has an indoor playing field used by people age 5 to 50 for soccer, lacrosse and other sports, said Andy White, an assistant manager at the complex.

Super Sports has been open since January, he said.

Some parents whose children participate in sports there are concerned about people entering and leaving the shooting range with weapons and about the possibility of increased crime, Ms. Horneman said.

The parents fear people might try to break into the range to steal weapons.

Clark R. Shaffer, a Westminster attorney who represents Mr. Liner and Mr. Twilley, said the range would be "state-of-the-art" and that the owners would take steps to make sure customers handle weapons properly.

Anyone who went to the range would have to leave his or her driver's license at the door, Mr. Shaffer said, and employees would check each customer's gun to ensure that the weapon is unloaded and properly stored before the license would be returned.

The range would have 16 lanes and would be open seven days a week. Handguns, shotguns and small-caliber rifles would be allowed at the range, Mr. Liner said. The two men also plan to sell accessories and supplies and to rent handguns for use at the range, he said.

"It's not going to be a hangout type place," Mr. Shaffer said.

Mr. Liner said he and his partner invited neighbors to a meeting at the site Wednesday, but only one person attended.

The two men wanted to explain their business and answer questions, he said.

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