Gun range appeals shutdown as county continues debate over bullet holes in homes

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SPENCER, Ind. -- The fight to bring back a rifle range fails again, at least for now.

During a tense appeals meeting, Owen County’s Board of Zoning Appeals decided to give Precision Gun Range another chance to prove to the board that their business is safe.

For a year now, nearby homeowners have claimed bullets from the rifle range were hitting their houses.

“You’ve seen report after report with flag after flag after flag after flag, properties with bullets taken out of their home, a foot below their bedroom window?” asked attorney Guy Relford,who’s representing the homeowners. “The state police says those bullets came from Precision.”

Multiple times, Relford referenced how their argument has backup from a state police investigation, which marked hundreds of bullets and bullet holes between their range and the homes along Hardscrabble Road. In the end, investigators determine many of the bullets came from Precision, calling the rifle range “a public danger” and recommending it be shut down.

The gun range though, questioned the legitimacy of the expertise used in the investigation. They maintain that in a rural area like Owen County, bullets could be coming from anywhere and have for years.

The plaintiffs built their homes in an area with a lot of shooting,” said Martha Dean, one of several representatives in place Thursday night for the range. “This neighbor who spoke tonight on Hardscrabble Road said they called the police and the police didn’t respond because they say there’s so many incidents of stray bullets hitting houses that they don’t generally investigate them. Precision Gun range is just the safest kind of shooting happening in the area.”

After a recess and a private meeting, the board came back with its decision to give the range 15 days to prepare a presentation or demonstration of the range’s safety.

So even if bullets did leave the range before, if they can show they won’t now, the board may decide to allow them to re-open.

The homeowners’ lawsuit against the range is still pending.​