Some Grovetown residents are upset about a gun range in Columbia County. It's on Newmantown Road, just across the Richmond County line. Thursday night, the Columbia County Planning Commission considered a recommendation to shut it down.
Back in June, Columbia County issued a cease and desist order to the owner of the shooting range. County officials say the gun range isn't licensed and that the property isn't zoned for commercial use. Because of that, people who live near the range are hoping the county shuts down the place for good.
People who live on Newmantown Road in Grovetown say they have been hearing gunshots for almost three years.
"It happens any time of the day. It happens hours at a time. We were out there Thanksgiving Day and there was shooting going on Thanksgiving Day. You can't even have company at your house and enjoy sitting outside on a nice day without having to hear AK-47s," Bobbie Bauserman says, who lives near the shooting range.
County officials say the property isn't zoned to be a gun range and that is why they asked the owner to stop all business on site. However, according to federal and state laws, the owner can still fire weapons on his property. That's why some people are supporting the owner.
"If people are going to own guns, they need to know how to use them and how to shoot them. Where to shoot them, how to shoot them. This is a second amendment right," Charles McDonald says.
But the neighbors in the area say they don't have problems with guns.
"I shoot myself, but I go to the shooting range down in Burke County. There are places you can go that are rural where you can shoot and you don't have to shoot in the neighborhood," Bauserman says.
They are concerned with the noise and their safety. Bauserman says some neighbors are veterans with post traumatic stress disorder and he says the people who live closest to the shooting range have even found bullet holes in the side of their house.
"I don't know where those bullet holes came from. They weren't there before. But they are in the direction that they would be coming from the berm," Bauserman says.
The gun range owner is asking the county to rezone his property so he can maintain his business, but the request has been tabled until November. For now, both sides have plenty of time to do their research.
"I have to say, I sympathize with them, to a certain to degree," says McDonald.
"I'm going to fight this thing through. I've got a letter from the mayor of Grovetown. Grovetown doesn't want this, I don't want this, my neighborhood doesn't want this, and it needs to stop," Bauserman says.
Even though the owner was given a cease and desist order, several neighbors say they continue to hear gunshots in the area. County officials say they cannot stop the owner from shooting on his own property.
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