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Council members introduce proposal to re-open shooting range to public

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 11, 2016) -- Indianapolis council members introduced a proposal Monday that would re-open a shooting range to the public.

The Eagle Creek Pistol Range, where IMPD does its training, had been open to the public on weekends in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Indy Parks abruptly cancelled its contract with the range's operator in March, opting to close it to the public moving forward.

Indy Parks has said attendance at the range dropped by 80 percent and it was no longer economically feasible to keep it open for public use.

Council member Jack Sandlin, R- District 24, disagreed with the move, telling FOX59 that he saw no reason that the range could not remain open to the public, since IMPD will keep using it for training.

"We’re putting over a million dollars’ worth of taxpayer money into upgrades and we’re telling the public that they no longer can use the facility," Sandlin said.

Sandlin and five other Republicans co-sponsored the proposal, which calls for the city to keep a range used by IMPD for training open to the public.

His decision, in part, was based on the outcry from people who used the range.

One letter he received came from 13-year-old Nick McInnes, who FOX59 met at another range, Parabellum Firearms in Avon. McInnes learned to shoot at Eagle Creek and now shoots competitively.

"(I wrote it) just to kind of let him know that it’s an important range and some kids go there and begin to shoot and get started like me," McInnes said. "That’s where I took my first shots so it’s kind of important to me."

McInnes went to Eagle Creek several years ago with his dad, Kyle, and learned from trained instructors.

"It’s just a good, safe, controlled environment for people to practice shooting," Kyle McInnes said.

Now, McInnes is hoping the city will change its mind, since his love of shooting started there and has contributed to what he wants to do with his future.

"When I’m older I want to become a police officer," McInnes said.

It's unclear if the proposal will get support from Democrats on the other side of the aisle, which it would need to be passed. It will go to a committee first, where council members will talk about it.