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Cumberland Co. passes new guidelines for shooting ranges

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Just behind Pat Davis's home in the Gray's Creek area of Cumberland County is a proposed outdoor shooting range. Davis and others pushed for regulations that would keep ranges further away from homes. Just behind Pat Davis's home in the Gray's Creek area of Cumberland County is a proposed outdoor shooting range. Davis and others pushed for regulations that would keep ranges further away from homes.
HOPE MILLS, N.C. -

Monday night Cumberland County Commissioners approved new regulations that would keep new outdoor shooting ranges further from homes.

Stray bullets and gun noise from existing and proposed ranges were concerns for some citizens. Some people who live in Cumberland County say there was a lack of regulation, which means shooting ranges could be too close to homes. It is a concern commissioners have acknowledged, and Monday night they ironed out some new measure to address the concerns.

The new county guidelines will require new shooting ranges to be on 200 acres of land as a way to ensure they are further away from homes. A public hearing will also be required before any new shooting range is approved.

"I don't have a problem with people bearing arms, but we also have to protect our citizens as well," commented Commissioner Charles Evans earlier on Monday.

County Commission Chairman Jimmy Keefe explained commissioners need to decide on a minimum acreage for outdoor shooting ranges, as well as a specific zoning for the ranges and what safety measures need to be in place.

Right now Cumberland County has more than a dozen outdoor shooting ranges. Some are in agricultural areas, while others are in commercial or even residentially zoned areas.

Some homeowners such as Pat Davis and Larry Roan say ranges just do not have enough acreage around them to provide a sufficient buffer between the shooting and the nearby homes.

Davis and Roan live in different homes near a proposed outdoor shooting range on Saplin Road in the Gray's Creek area.

They had concerns about noise from the guns, and also about safety.

They worried that stray bullets could fly across a field or through the woods and into their yards or homes.

"I'm for everyone's individual right to have something like that set up, but then again it has to be in a strictly controlled environment and again away from a residential area," Roan said Monday afternoon. "We as the community need to be concerned and raise the red flag and let the people with the right guidance say what the regulations should be."

The new regulations mean the shooting range Davis and Roan worried about will not be allowed. The proposed range was 3.8 acres.

Commissioners said they plan to revisit the new regulations in about a year to decide if any adjustments need to be made.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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