Investigation will be done to determine if bullets are straying onto neighboring properties.
The Lake Lotawana Sportsmen’s Club has suspended its shooting range operations so an investigation can be done to determine if it needs safety improvements.
The Jackson County Legislature Monday passed a resolution urging the club suspend operations to the rifle and pistol portion of the range for at least 45 days while the assessment takes place.
Neighbors surrounding the range, located at 29709 E. Alley Road just east of Lake Lotawana, have raised concerns about public safety. They alleged bullets from the range have hit structures in residential areas. Also, they have raised questions about the club’s provisions for a safe operation at the range.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has investigated the range’s operation and alleged public safety issues. Sheriff Mike Sharp said that study was inconclusive on whether the bullets came from the range.
John T. Gunther, the club’s attorney, said the damage has not come from the club. However, in the interest of working together, they voluntarily suspended shooting at the range.
Gunther said there’s deer hunters in the area, and that could be the source of the damage to the structures.
“The club is not the source of the damage,” he said.
Legislator Bob Spence said he believes there’s no doubt that shooters at the range aren’t the only ones firing guns in the area.
Spence called for an independent expert to determine once and for all if the bullets could be coming from the range.
“I’m not an anti-gun person... but safety is paramount in this,” he said, “and if one person gets hit, it affects every gun owner in the U.S.”
Don Sears, who works at the club, said the issue isn’t about public safety. It’s about the neighbors upset about the noise from the range.
“They’re making it into a public safety issue,” Sears said.
He said the range has been a safe place for decades and safety is the most important aspect at the range.