Proposed Gun Range Doesn't Fly With Residents 7-29-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Proposed Gun Range Doesn't Fly With Residents 7-29-2010

The “pop, pop, pop” sound of bullets could soon be interrupting the peace at a Mid-Michigan cemetery.
A police department is looking to build a firing range next door to a local graveyard, a plan that isn't sitting well with many residents.
Gene Cook lives nearby the proposed range and he's fired up that the Thetford Township planning commission already approved plans.
"They need to patrol the roads more than they need to play with a gun range,” said Cook.
Members of the police force set their sights on building the outdoor range behind the department.
“If they're shooting all the time, they're going to have that noise all the time,” said Thetford Township resident Francis Murphy.
The range would consist of 10-foot-tall utility poles sticking out of the ground, tires that would be stacked over the poles and backfilled with sand to catch bullets -- all contained in a 10-foot berm in a U-shape around the range.
Another concern residents voiced to TV5 is that the firing range will be right next to the local cemetery.
"I don't think it's a valid concern right now,” said Thetford Township supervisor Clyde Howd, who believes residents are jumping the gun. "The people are getting upset before they hear all of the information."
Howd assured TV5 taxpayers will not bite the bullet on this one -- all materials and time will be donated.
Howd said a certified instructor would run the range, which would be open to the public.
“It's not something we need, we're saying it may be a benefit to the township,” said Thetford Township Police Chief Bob Kenny.
Kenny said officers currently travel to Birch Run for shooting practice. A range could also include firearms training for residents.
Some neighbors said a range could cut down on people using their back yards to discharge weapons.
Residents will get the chance to sound off on the proposal before it goes before the township board for approval.
A public hearing is taking place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Township Hall.
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