Shotgun Range Closed Indefinitely
Unfortunately, the Board of Directors had to make the tough choice to close the Shotgun Range due to safety and potentially adverse legal issues.
First, there is the safety issue. The Shotgun Range does not meet the minimum criteria for a safe range. The maximum distance #7 1/2 shot can travel is approximately 740 feet. However, the NRA and other national clay target associations recommend a shot fall buffer zone of 900 feet (300 yards) from the point where the gun is fired. The distance from the point where most members shoot to a property line is approximately 180 feet to the East and 360 feet to the North.
So we have shot projectiles leaving the club property frequently when in use. Along with a few others, I have experienced being pelted with falling shot as I come down Erie Street and onto the entrance road to the Club.
I also personally witnessed Club members standing parallel with the drainage ditch to the range's Southeastern limits and shooting clays back toward the rifle ranges on two occasions. Of course, I stopped them and gave them a warning. I have seen evidence of others doing the same thing on other occasions. Unacceptable!
So when the shot crosses the property lines, it usually end up in the Morrell property to the East and the City of Beaumont Landfill property to the North. We've recently seen evidence of city workers performing dirt excavation at the Southeast corner of their property immediately adjacent to our North property line. Well within the Surface Danger Zone for shot falling from the Shotgun Range.
This creates legal and liability issues for the Club and its members who use that range. It is a Class C misdemeanor anytime projectiles (bullets, shot, missiles, etc.) cross a property line. Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum of $500 fines upon conviction for each offense. However, if that projectile hits and causes damage or injury to another human being, more serious charges can be filed with much greater penalties.
The Board has known about some of these issues for a while and has tried very hard to mitigate the problems with minimal success. For instance, we delineated a 'safe shot fall area' within our property, made rules, and placed limits on the use of the range to minimize any danger. We also looked at purchasing approximately 2.7 acres of land immediately adjacent to our property to the East. But the landowner wanted too much money, and it would not entirely alleviate the problem. The juice just wasn't worth the squeeze.
We studied other ways to further mitigate the danger by building and installing shooting stations that limit the swing of the barrel both horizontally and vertically in an attempt to keep all shots on the range. The shooting stations would be made of PVC like shown in the image here.
However, none of these measures would totally prevent all projectiles from leaving the range and potentially causing damage or injury. So the Board, whose members are all certified Range Safety Officers or Chief Range Safety Officers, recently voted to close the range indefinitely until alternate locations could be found that would allow a safe shotgun range to be built.
We are currently looking at the possibility of purchasing sufficient acreage of land to our South that could accommodate a new Shotgun Range. But this will take time and not happen very soon as the Club will need to raise funds necessary to purchase and build a new range.
So until then, the Shotgun Range is closed.