Proposed Giles Co. gun range causing concerns - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Proposed Giles Co. gun range causing concerns

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Some Giles County residents are worried about the potential of a private gun range moving into the Clover Hollow area, near Newport.

One of the items in front of a joint hearing with the Giles County Board of Supervisors and the County Planning Commission is a request for a special permit to re-zone an area near Newport, enabling a possible outdoor firing range and training facility to be established.

"It's very quiet, we all pretty much revere the quiet and the peace" said Hanna Craig, a Giles County resident who has lived in the area for more than a decade.

Craig says she's not opposed to guns but is opposed to a gun range moving in.

"Why do that if you really want to develop this as a community to live in?" Craig said.

"If you cannot legally own a gun, you can't be part of this" said Craig Stallings, one of the business partners behind Top Brass Shooting Sports, that wants to move in on more than 100 acres of Giles County land.

"Gun sales are way up and I have a concern that there are people buying firearms and they're legally able to do so but they may not necessarily know how to use them" said Barry Link, a business partner.

Link says his family has owned the land for decades and it will be cleared out for a target range, training facility and classrooms. He says they've shooting guns on the land every Sunday for more than a year and have not gotten any complaints.

"God made a nice shooting range here" said Stallings. "It's remote, it's about a mile from any road, the closest neighbors are 3/4 of a mile."

It would be a closed range for three groups:

-recreational shooters who would become members

-local law enforcement

- people who want training

"It's something that's needed and it's something that will lead to people more educated in firearms" said Stallings.

"Once they get in, they could easily expand size, time, that's another big fear is how out of hand could it get once they're in?" said Hanna Craig who is worried about an increase in neighborhood traffic, noise and safety.

The public hearing is scheduled for tonight (Thursday, April 18th) at 7 p.m. in the Giles County General District courtroom located at 120 North Main St. in Pearisburg.

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