Steelfield Residents Not Happy About New County Gun Range

By: Betsy Goldin Email
By: Betsy Goldin Email

For several years now, Bay County Officials have supported more practice options for firearm owners but with the recent explosion in gun sales, the issue became more urgent.
Last month, County Commissioner finally agreed on a plan to build a public gun range off Highway 79, near the Steelfield Landfill.
"The state has done all their trajectory tests. Fish and wildlife people they had to satisfy where gun ranges are and the extent that it could impact other people," said Commissioner Mike Thomas.
"I'm not opposed to guns. I'm an avid hunter and outdoors-men. However, I am opposed to a gun range in proximity to the residence where I live," said resident Jayson Deese.
Those neighbors point to the same evidence commissioner used to approve the new range: Public demand.
When the county opened the sheriff's office range off Camp Flowers Road this summer, an average of 100 people took advantage of it each weekend.
Neighbors fear they'll be at least that many uses, if not more.
"You're at least going to take 2 boxes of shells. That's 100 rounds per person. 100 rounds 100 people in a weekend. That's 10 thousand gun shots that my family and I are going to have to listen to," said Deese.
The residents are also making an issue of the gun range's funding.
The county is paying the 200,000 dollar range cost out of the Parks and Recreation Department impact fees, which must be used for new buildings.
Residents want to know why the county didn't request more public input.
"Would anybody like a dog park or a park to take their children to?" asked Deese
Other residents say they are worried about the potential of extra traffic the gun range will create.


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