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Shooting range evaluation could begin next month

Kyle Moroney • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:13 AM

Gun club officials sent a letter earlier this month to Grand Haven Township that they intend to hire the National Rifle Association Range Technical Team to evaluate the outdoor shooting range. The letter states that the gun club would like to get confirmation from township officials that the NRA is an “acceptable independent evaluator from the township’s perspective” before hiring the team to do the evaluation.

The Township Board reaffirmed its support for an evaluation by the NRA team during its meeting on Monday.

Township Manager Bill Cargo explained that a letter — which has been reviewed by township attorney Ron Bultje — is to be sent to the gun club today in regards to their support.

“Because the NRA’s Range Technical Team is considered the pre-eminent authority in gun range design and safety, and because the state of Michigan’s shooting range guidelines are based upon the NRA’s specifications, the Township Board supports NORGC’s decision to utilize this consulting group,” the letter states.

Township Trustee Tom Jenkins questioned the township’s plans if the NRA determines the gun club’s current design is “OK.”

“Then we’d have a serious problem,” Cargo said, noting a public safety issue surrounding the outdoor shooting range. “There is a big difference between a nuisance of noise from a firearm than a nuisance of damage with bullets escaping the range.”

Cargo said they would not “prejudge” the NRA’s evaluation; however, he said the township could explore several legal options, if necessary.

“I would be shocked if the NRA comes back and says that the shooting range doesn’t need some modifications,” Cargo said.

Welch explained that the closing of the outdoor shooting range since the Sept. 29 incident that injured a man and damaged several homes in the nearby Cutter Park subdivision has affected not only club members, but also those preparing for today’s start to the firearm deer season.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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