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Thread: Gun range a "War Zone"

  1. #1
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    Default Gun range a "War Zone"

    SWANSEA, S.C.
    Last month Swansea resident Susan Smith was standing on her property “when a bullet pierced the air approximately five feet from me,” Smith said in a lawsuit filed this week in Lexington County state court.

    “The sound of a passing high-powered bullet has an unmistakable and unique sound — a high pitched ‘zing,’ ” she wrote in an affidavit attached to the lawsuit, in which she is one of 10 plaintiffs suing Panteao Sportsman’s Club, a 76-acre outdoor collection of ranges for pistols, rifles and shotguns, over “rogue bullets” and a “warzone” atmosphere marked by “penetrating, reverberating gunfire and blasts.”

    “I was terrified,” Smith wrote, adding she ‘” immediately took cover in fear behind a large tree to try to shield myself from being killed by a stray bullet.”

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    Smith and the other plaintiffs are asking a judge to “immediately close” the shooting range until a “nationally recognized shooting range expert” can analyze the risks of stray bullets to neighboring properties and streets” and report recommendations back to the court about how to eliminate or reduce any danger. They all live less than a mile from the facility.

    Gun range owner Fernando Coelho says his range, which is open seven days a week, doesn’t endanger neighbors and he doesn’t mind if an expert inspects his facility.

    “I actually welcome that,” said Coelho, 51, who said he’s been in firearms-related businesses for more than 20 years, including a stint on a rapid reaction team at a nuclear facility.

    In any case, the lawsuit represents an unusual schism in America’s gun culture, where 2nd Amendment supporters are generally known for their unified support in wanting as few restrictions on firearms as possible. In this case, nearly all the complaining neighbors are longtime gun owners and hunters.

    “I have been a gun owner for most of my life and own in excess of 20 guns, including handguns, long rifles, shotguns and an AR-15,” said Kinard Pound, who runs a landscaping business and has spent his whole life in the Gaston-Swansea area.

    “But now I am afraid for my family’s safety when we visit my parents’ home when the Panteao Sportsman’s Club is open,” wrote Pound, who has five children. Once, he and his father were working outside when the range was open and “we suddenly heard bullets zipping through the trees above our heads.” he wrote.

    Play VideoDuration 1:20
    “The type of guns that are being used are the kind that you see in Fallujah, it's war like weaponry” attorney Eric Bland said

    Eric Bland, attorney representing Swansea residents, said that they want the range to have supervision and to be made safe so the bullets stay inside the range. BY JOHN MONK
    A hearing on whether to grant the neighbor’s request to close the range, at least temporarily, has been set for Feb. 20.

    From his shooting range this week, Coelho told The State his facility has numerous safety features including high berms to block noise and keep bullets from escaping, video cameras to monitor shooting bays, as well as fences and admission card readers to screen visitors.

    “It’s not a war zone,” Coelho said.

    “Our primary concern is making sure the rounds — the bullets — are staying within the property and those that are using our property are using it in a safe manner,” Coelho said. “We have been for the past five years progressively spending money to improve this facility, both for the users, and for the surrounding neighbors.”

    Coelho said when he’s gotten complaints about stray bullets, he has checked his shooters and ranges and determined it was “physically impossible” that any errant bullets in the area were coming from his range. In some cases, what sounds like a bullet passing near a house might in fact be an echo from his range, he said.

    There is only one entrance to the range, and it is separated from the road by some 150 yards of forest. Range officers are on site, he said. His staff checks drivers’ licenses to ascertain identities and goes over the safety rules with patrons and shows them the various shooting bays.

    In addition to being open to the public, his range is used by top firearms experts to make training videos for sale to people who want to learn more about gun safety — “those who maybe can’t afford a $600 course to acquire gun skill sets to keep them and others safe” he said, adding, “There’s nothing worse than a firearms owner buying a firearm and having no skills to use it.”

    Instructors who make the videos at his range are former Delta Force and SEAL operators and ex-law enforcement SWAT members, he said. Those top firearms experts have helped advise him on how to make the range as safe as possible, he said.

    The Panteao ranges are located in rolling, almost hilly, wooded country side. Across the road from the range less than half a mile away is another outdoor range at the Buck and Boar Hunting Lodge, and that is also a source of gunfire, Coelho said.

    Noise is another major complaint in the neighbors’ lawsuit.

    “We endure the startling booms of gunfire, plus the echoing of the blast from the power lines and the distinct clang of the hit of a target, at such a frequency that no one should be expected to endure it,” wrote neighbor Sandra Pound, a retired Lexington 2 school teacher, in her affidavit. The gunfire sounds like “it’s straight from war coverage on the evening news,” she wrote.

    Coelho knows gunfire is noisy, but says, “This is no different from a S.C. Department of Natural Resources range or any other outdoor range in South Carolina. Yes, in the last five years, more people have begun using it — it’s a business. We promote it at local gun shows, outdoor shows, we actually invite law enforcement agencies here. Richland County, Lexington County and other police departments are allowed to use our facility at no charge for requalification and testing purposes.”

    His range has features law agencies want, such as an extra long 800-yard rifle range for their SWAT teams, and a special area where moving cars can be part of the practice, he said.

    There has been a gun range on the site for 10 years, and the difference is that it has become more visible in the last year with Panteao’s increased presence in the marketplace, Coelho said.

    This lawsuit lists seven different grounds for the plaintiffs’ legal action, including “abnormally dangerous activities, negligence, private nuisance, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and “noise-related nuisance.”

    The plaintiffs “have suffered emotional distress, damage to trees, limiting their enjoyment of their property and a diminution in their property values, and other losses, for which they should be compensated in such an amount as determined by a jury,” the lawsuit says.

    The lawsuit also says plaintiffs have complained to Lexington County officials, to no avail.

    Attorney Eric Bland, who with Bryn Sarvis represents the plaintiffs, said they fear they or their grand children may be struck by a stray bullet. “People have a right to be free from being terrorized in their home each and every day of the year. ... Their use and enjoyment and serenity of their home has been forever disrupted.”

    Coelho said the neighbors “just don’t want a gun range” and some of their allegations won’t hold up under scrutiny. One person even said that his facility should be an indoor range, he said.

    But his range offers safe, pertinent outdoor training for firearms owners such as hunters or law officers, as well as classes for beginners.

    “We run a very tight organization,” he said. “If we were running this place the way they say we are, ... I wouldn’t want to be here.”

    https://www.thestate.com/news/local/...ainstage_card2

  2. #2
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    I’ve enjoyed my panteao production videos. Someone isn’t telling the truth, and simply owning a gun doesn’t make you a supporter of the second amendment.

  3. #3
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    Was the gun range there before the tract builder threw up 500 homes on 100 acres? If so, the home owners knew what they were getting into.
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  4. #4
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    “The type of guns that are being used are the kind that you see in Fallujah, it's war like weaponry” attorney Eric Bland said

    A real second amendment lover right here.

    So if a 7.62 projectile comes out of a blued barrel in a wood stock its ok, but if it comes out of a parkerized barrel in a modular stock it is bad....

    I bet one of those long clip things makes the offense even worse.
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  5. #5
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    There are a couple of neighbors in the area that have complained for years. It was bad enough when it was mostly hunters and long range shooters. There are several house 3 to 425yards behind pistol bays. They were there long before the range. Now the new owner, a yankee, is doing tactical shooting with steels, three gun style shooting, and moving targets. Some unverified reports of full auto fire at times. Much higher volume of fire. I left the club a while back due to shot up cars brought in in by new owner etc..
    Last edited by mello_collins; 02-07-2020 at 10:36 AM.


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  6. #6
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    There is a much higher density of people around Mid-Carolina Rifle Club, with a much higher volume of fire. Some mobile homes within 100 yards of the pistol bays. Yet it has no issues.

    There is more to this than meets the eye - I smell a personal agenda. The new owners got the land on a lease-to-own arrangement (contract) that I heard the original owners wanted to reneg on when they saw the improvements the new people put into it. The Panteao people have been nothing but good to me and everyone I know that uses that place, and have improved the facility far beyond what it once was. I looked at the aerial imagery of it and think it's as good as one can expect for a safety fan.
    "This place is like a petri dish filled with germs of f****** crazy.. " - Highstrung, 2019

  7. #7
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    Per rp, Mid Carolina has had two issues. Once when bullets were reflected off of one target in a steel challenge match. They were going almost straight up and coming down next door. That was remedied.

    Another time some woman said the range bullets were going in her trailer. Sheriff investigated and sure enough, bullets were hitting her living space but were coming from the opposite side from MCRC.

    MCRC insists that bullets impact the berm and they have high bems.
    Last edited by KRT; 02-10-2020 at 01:59 PM.
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  8. #8
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    who would want to live next to a gun club?
    Ugh. Stupid people piss me off.

  9. #9
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    On a somewhat similar note the USFS has closed ( again) the Boggy Head Rifle range.

    The first closure was ended when the Berkely county Sheriffs department had it cleaned up. At that time the need for a range officer was fully noted.

    Recently and still without a range officer an accident occurred that nearly cost a young man his life. Apparently the group was not following rules, shooting metal targets.
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  10. #10
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    Apparently the group was not following rules, shooting metal targets.........

    AT MCRC we have rules for safety that people just don't understand. Bullets MUST hit the berm, don't handle a gun if someone is down range, etc. About month or so ago, a guy and his guests were asked to leave after they were playing Rambo and broke about every rule we had and some we don't. Basic gun safety rules were broken. He went over to the other range discussed above and told folks what an ass we were, maybe not those exact terms as I have heard.
    It's not enough to simply tolerate the 2nd Amendment as an antiquated inconvenience. Caring for the 2nd Amendment means fighting to restore long lost rights.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2thDoc View Post
    who would want to live next to a gun club?
    ME! I built a skeet field about 100 yards from my front door and a rifle/pistol range down the hill. I shoot regularly........Day or night.......It's my thing!

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