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WA – TRAINING – Public: ‘Indoor ranges are the future’

At a public hearing held at the Fort Worden Commons on Feb. 10, the majority of the citizens who spoke called for all future gun ranges in Jefferson County to be indoor only. Thirty-two members of the public spoke in favor of the county’s proposed regulations to relegate all future shooting ranges indoors, while eight people called for fewer regulations, allowing for outdoor gun ranges to be built in the county. Joe D’Amico, owner of Fort Discovery and Security Services Northwest, who sparked the shooting range debate in 2018 after he proposed building an outdoor shooting facility on his property near Tarboo Lake, did not speak at the hearing. None of his company’s representatives spoke in public about the county’s proposed regulations. “Indoor shooting ranges are the future,” said Riley Parker, who was a member of the committee that helped the Board of County Commissioners draft two ordinances regulating the scope and scale of all future shooting ranges in the county. Parker, who sat on the committee in the summer of 2018, was quoting Clark Vargas, a shooting range engineer who was hired to help the county draft ordinances that would be fair to both gun owners who need to practice firearm safety and target shooting, but also to residents of Jefferson County who want to live, work and farm in peace and quiet. “‘They make good neighbors and they are easy to site,’” quoted Parker, noting that after a two-year debate on how to site ranges in the county, the discussion had finally made a full circle: shooting ranges should be indoors. Right now, the only shooting range in the county is the Jefferson County Sportsmen’s Association, built just outside Port Townsend city limits on county property. This shooting range is an outdoor range, where hunters practice long-range target practice and local law enforcement trains on a regular basis. The range has a contract with the county through 2040, and commissioners plan to “grandfather” the range into any new regulations.  [full article]

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