Kent’s Note: This story comes from the Associated Press
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Carson City last month restricted hours for drop-in use at a local gun range to the weekend due to safety concerns after city employees and contractors at the landfill said they were dodging stray bullets.
Now, a group of users of the Carson Rifle and Pistol Range have gathered more than 1,200 signatures on a petition to reopen the range seven days a week, the Nevada Appeal reported .
The city held a public meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue.
“I want to start the meeting off letting you all know how important the range is to the city,” said Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who led the gathering attended by more than 100 people. “The city must recognize safety first. We had to close it for the safety of employees, landfill users, and gun range users.”
The city now is working with the National Rifle Association to bring in a range team technical adviser to do a safety assessment. Nevada Department of Wildlife, a partner in the range, is doing a separate assessment.
Depending on those results, the city may also form a working group including range users to advise and recommend solutions.
Those attending the meeting said there’s no evidence the bullets entering the landfill are from the range and could instead be coming from shooters in other nearby locations.
“Can’t we use the range open and freely until we know where the rounds are coming from?” asked Chris Pattison, who launched the petition and was one of three dozen attendees who spoke during the meeting.
Curtis Horton, deputy director, Public Works, said after the meeting the city doesn’t know conclusively where the bullets are originating and have stepped up patrols all around the area.
The Carson Rifle and Pistol Club, which operates the range through a 20-year-old agreement with the city, provides volunteer range safety officers, or RSOs, although several speakers said the range until recently was largely self-policing without any incident.
The hours for the public are being limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, because the landfill is closed and the club can provide RSOs during those hours.
Four bays at the range can be reserved any time, but only by members of the club or other organizations that can provide RSOs.