Skip to comments.Gun club's future in hands of courts, county(Kitsap, Washington)
Posted on 04/23/2012 6:13:03 PM PDT by marktwain
CENTRAL KITSAP Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club is fighting for its life, according to legal documents filed with the Washington State Court of Appeals.
Under a court order, the clubs shooting range on Seabeck Highway is effectively shut down at the moment. The club now faces what it considers to be severe restrictions on any future operations including limited hours and the type of guns to be shot.
Thats why the club went to court last week pleading for a postponement of the order handed down in Pierce County Superior Court. Members should know soon whether the stay will be granted, allowing them to plan for the future.
With the closure of its range, KRRC has been losing members and watching its income disappear, even as its legal costs pile up, said Marcus Carter, executive officer for the club. If the club loses its appeal, potential restrictions could make the range less attractive to future members, he said.
But as dire as things look at times, Carter is hopeful that support for the club will continue and that bankruptcy will be avoided.
As far as the future holds, we are confident that, in the long run, we will be back open, Carter said. We are hoping it will be sooner rather than later.
One of the clubs greatest assets is its members, he said.
We are still a club, he said. Just because of the range (shutdown), it does not mean the club stops existing.
Court Commissioner Eric Schmidt is reviewing Judge Susan Serkos ruling to determine whether the range closure should be lifted pending a full hearing by the Court of Appeals. The full hearing will determine the validity of Serkos ruling, in which she declared the range to be a public nuisance.
Serko found that area residents had legitimate concerns about increased noise and the likelihood of bullets leaving the range and striking nearby homes, possibly even people. She also found that the club had failed to obtain required land-use permits for construction that had taken place in recent years.
Under her order, the range must remain closed until the club obtains county land-use permits, including a conditional-use permit the type required for new facilities.
The need for a conditional-use permit creates the greatest concern to the club, Carter said, because it would open the door to any restrictions county officials wish to impose. Now more than ever, Carter worries that the countys long-term goal is to keep the range closed or curtail operations until the range is no longer attractive to club members.
County Commissioner Josh Brown, who helped the club acquire its 72-acre property for $10, says he has supported the club as much as he can.
I dont know why I would spend countless hours working on this (land) exchange if I wanted them to move, he said. I think what theyre really concerned about is that they dont want to have to explain the expansion of their use. They dont want to have a public hearing where the neighbors can come and talk about their concerns mainly public safety.
Brown said the club needs to take responsibility as a property owner.
A judge has said they are not in compliance. They should get in compliance. I would welcome the gun range getting into compliance. ... They need to apply for the proper permits.
Despite the court ruling, Carter maintains that the nature of shooting at the range has not changed.
Carter hopes the Court of Appeals will correct Serkos errors and get the club back on its feet.
Current membership stands at about 400, Carter said. If the gun range were open, one could expect more than 700 members. In the early 1990s, membership stood as high as 1,000, although the numbers always fluctuate in a Navy community.
Doug OConnor, president of the Poulsbo Sportsman Club, said a growing number of new firearms owners has meant increased shooting at most gun ranges. But soon after Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club closed, the number of shooters at Poulsbos range doubled. The club quickly added about 20 new members to fill up its membership roster and hit the cap of 750 members.
Gun clubs are often targets of combinations of liberal activists and politically connected developers.
If our intrepid congressional stumblebums don’t manage to give the worst president ever a second term with supermajorities in both houses, we need Newt in a conservative government. Not as Pres; I don’t know what kind of chief executive he’d make; but as the “thresher” of the judiciary. Threshing was what we did before combines took over harvesting grain: we separated grain from chaff, bagged the grain, and burned the chaff....
Some brave gun owners just say, “The Second Amendment is my permit to keep and bear arms.” I don’t know how well that’s working for ‘em, but the amendment does say our right to keep and bear “shall not be INFRINGED!” It sounds to me like the WA judge is infringing all over our good old Constitution. We need to burn the chaff and mill the grain into the makings of loaves free of all liberal poisons.
Long before the housing was built.
Then why doesn't the club sue the developers of the housing tracts for failure to ensure the safety of their constructs with necessary berms and/or secure fencing?
we used to walk tall here..
I agree, but the for many years, shooting has been demonized to the point that many believe they can victimize shooters without any fear of backlash.
The judge in this case has never fired a gun, knows nothing about shooting, and refused to even visit the club.