Skip to comments.San Antonio Gun Range Shut Down by Golf Course Wants Your Help
Posted on 04/04/2012 1:52:54 PM PDT by marktwain
Last month, two shooting incidents prompted a nearby golf course to take aim at a San Antonio rifle range, using the SA Municipal Golf Association to launch a legal campaign to have the gun club shut down. Today, a judge maintained a temporary injunction though Texan golfer had best hold their soft, self-congratulatory applause for minute as an obscure provision in Texas state law may still have sent their ace just shy of the hole. Here's an explanation:
The city of San Antonio formed the Municipal Golf Association as a public/private venture to help enterprises maintain greens within the city limits. A 1999 statute though that was amended just last year prohibits local governments from regulating shooting ranges established before Sept. 1, 2011. The provision further details that cities and counties cannot legally sue shooting clubs, which fall under this designation without the Texas Legislature's seal of approval. The gun range, now called A Place to Shoot, has been in operation for over 35 years.
Mission Del Lago Golf Course in San Antonio. The golfers lawyered up after Justo Flores, a member of the Mission Del Lago golf course, was hit by an errant bullet on March 4 of this year, requiring medical attention. Several days later, employees of the golf course reported that they heard shots and then felt a bullet sailing past them. In response Judge Renee McElhaney handed down a temporary injunction against the range first on March 14, then again today, April 3, forcing them to close their shooting lanes. The police could not determine the direction from which the bullet that hit Flores and lawyers for the gun range have contested the second incident as no bullet has been found.
Lawyers for the range purported that the restriction baring government entities from interfering with gun ranges should apply to the golf association because it is publicly managed (with public money). They have also argued that San Antonios city government has attempted to use the golf association to try to get around the law, pointing to the city's involvement in the association's creation and the fact that the A Place to Shoot is an outdoor range 10 miles within San Antonios city limits.
Today however, Judge McElhaney handed down a decision that San Antonio's Golf Association, though they operate with a $500,000 "credit" from the city government, is not an agent of the city. In an update on their website, A Place to Shoot, announced the ruling against them and stated (as excerpted here):
In addition to our belief that the round that struck Mr. Flores did not come from our facility, it is our position that MGA-SA is acting as an agent of the City of San Antonio.MGA-SA was formed by the City, approved by the City, and operates only by City consent. MGA-SA could not be taking this action without the approval of the City and is acting as an agent of the City.
Someone gets hit by a stray bullet. People say they hear bullets.
Shut down the range two miles away. Simple.
For every difficult problem, there is a simple and easy answer, and that answer is wrong.
I’ve heard bullets fly next-to- (my) head. I have also heard artillery rounds fly over head. I am skeptical of the ‘heard bullets fly over head’. They don’t make much noise going by. Sometimes even artillery rounds going overhead make barely a whisper.
(That is unless some j*ck*ss puts a razor blade under the fuze. They only do that once though, ‘cause if an in-bore burst doesn’t kill them, then the Chief of Smoke coming at them with an E-tool will.)
They should compromise and open a combination Skeet Shoot/ Driving Range.
The golfers hit the golf ball down range, then the riflemen try and shoot them down!...
Some have been known to get up before dawn to whack improbably small balls into tiny holes in the ground with awkwardly styled implements.
They have too much money to dispute with on most issues.
Most parts of the country we see immenant domain being use to tear down housing to build golf courses.
Your map is VERY helpful. Kudos for producing what appears to be an iron-clad case.
So, looking at the map, we see the ‘shooter’ fired in the general direction golfers 2 miles away, surrounded by trees. So, now we have some very basic sets of questions.
1. What direction do the shoters at range fire?
2. What enclosures prevent the bullets from going into the golf course?
3. Aside from it’s acknowledged existence; how does anyone know that any of the bullets originated at the range?
2 miles is a long ways for *most* rifles to fire. I’ve some coworkers who are ballistics experts - you are talking a Win 300 mag or a 338 Swift to even cross a line 2 miles out - let alone hit a barn. Even a .50 cal will be difficult to hit something with any accuracy at that range.
But, most shells won’t cross a line in the sand that is 2 miles out.
“Nearby golf course” is absolutely typical libspeak. Another article posted here says they are two miles apart, and from your map it looks like AT LEAST a mile and a half.
This demands some sort of proof, like matching the rifling on the bullet to one of the rifles or pistols at the range. Otherwise, the odds are far more likely that it was some gang-banger or illegal doing a drive-by shooting—something you read about in the papers every day, usually because some child bystander has been shot by the perp.
Tumbling range is much further than firing range for rifled rounds.
Most firing ranges today require lead traps installed behind the butts, precluding standard target practice rounds leaving the range, except in the cases of wildly inaccurate ricochets. Those traps are driven by environmental regs on lead.
It appears the range uses the lake as an additional safety buffer, but it might actually allow some far ranging rounds to ricochet off the water.
IMHO, the range should insure QC inspections of all ammo fired as a method to document they are safely operating their range. Besides, it also would help defend nuisance lawsuits by those who would make fraudulent claims against the firing range.
If I shoot all the golfers, they'll lock me up.
correction: Tumbling range is much further than max effective range for rifled rounds.
Where'd you get that crazy idea?...:)
The bullet was .223 caliber:
Whether what whizzed by the two employees golfing at the 15th hole on Monday was definitely a bullet is one thing but there’s no doubt a stray .223-caliber round had to be removed from Flores’ sternum.
Sometimes Eminent Domain is imminent and may seem immanent to a half baked theologian.
1. What direction do the shoters at range fire?
With all of the best intentions and all the safety rules in the world, some people at the range are just a**holes.
I mow at our range and regularly see grooves in the sod where (against range policy) some drooling idiot has put a target on the ground and “skipped” a slug who knows where. When I see grooves, there are always a lot of them
Electric co. linemen have had to pause operations on the high tension lines behind our rifle range for the same reason. They are less than 2 miles away, but where DID the slug go after it whizzed past them?
Sorry, but every range has its jerks and some of them will endanger themselves and others - even folks not on the property.
3,600 meters is 2.23 miles!
M16/A2 shoots a 5.56mm/.223 cartridge:
Describe the ranges for the M16/A2 Rifle.
* Maximum Range - 3,600 meters
* Max Effective Range for a Point Target - 550 meters
* Max Effective Range for an Area Target - 800 meters
I don’t believe all golfers want to immanentize the eschaton, but I know that our GOTUS wants to do so.
P385-63 page 47 and p.34 say for 5.56mm at 2000ft altitude, range safety fan max distance is 3743m = 12,280 ft with an additional 314m (1030ft) 60 degree vert ricochet hazard.
For 7.62 armor penetrating, we are looking at closer to 4290m (14,075ft + 346m-1135ft at 33deg ricochet hazard) safety range.
Closest fairways appear to be about 6000ft(1828m) away from the range over water. Close but OK for .38cal but even std ball 5.56mm ammo ranges 10,170ft (3100m).
...”IMHO, the range should insure QC inspections of all ammo fired”...
You sure lost me there.
When I was a kid, on the first day of orientation at the rifle range I shot at, they always told new shooters the story of how a .22 bullet fired from the range cracked the window of the grandstand of crowded horse-racing course about 1 1/2 mile away.
Now, to be clear, the bullet was fired when the idiot who owned the rifle had it elevated at about a 45 deg angle while he checked for a mis-fire. However that kind of range IS possible for a .22 LR much less a .223
I can allow my next door neighbor to come over and fire his pellet gun in my back yard, into some targets, which can be calibrated so I know his pellets don’t hurt somebody next door.
Some gun ranges are built out in rural areas where 50 years ago the population density might have been 1 person per sqmile, and the odds of a round harming anybody was very remote.
Military uses the term, big sky little bullet, to describe this type of range safety and fire coordination feature.
Now take the same gun range built on say a section, a sq mile of land, and now instead of rural ranches next door to him, he now has subdivided housing communities with a house on every 1/6ac parcel in the subdivisions, all bordering his section.
He probably could have fired a rifle 50 years ago and nobody cared. Today, if he fires a rifle, the round is likely going to go through somebody’s house. Obviously he doesn’t have that privilege, unless he has property rights on the same areas he shoots into with the rifle. (Even then, other criminal laws regarding the use of deadly force probably also prevail over simply a civil interest.)
If I owned the range, and advertised people could pay me to use the a facilities to shoot their rifles, then there are also some public and private safety rules which should be applied.
If people bring their own ammo, then there probably needs to be some private safety rules on how far rounds may be allowed to be propelled.
If not, the owner doesn’t have much of a defense if accused by others he is endangering their lives and property, especially when neighbors are injured by firearm shots from his proximity.
Most civil torts place a burden of proof upon those who use explosives to show they aren’t harming others in their use. Inherently dangerous devices.
The doctrine of “nuisance” also comes into play here. If you have a hog rendering plant and the smells of your business waft over onto my property and make it impossible for me to enjoy it, you can legally be shut down, even though you were there first. This does not seem “fair” to our ordinary sense of how things should work, but it’s based on the economic theories about maximizing the “highest and best” use of any given piece of land.