Bad mix: Gun Ranges & School Buses

Yellow lines represent Greene County school bus routes for both Ruckersville Elementary School and William Monroe Middle and High Schools.

There is a major school bus route 400 feet away and two school bus stops within about a quarter mile from the proposed outdoor shooting range.

Yes, proponents will say that the range is oriented so that shooting will be away from the nearby school bus stops. That is true, but that isn’t the issue. After all, the builder claims that no bullets can ever escape the confines of the range anyway, right? For the sake of argument, we won’t dispute that here.

What is a concern though, is all the firearm traffic moving through the area. People with firearms going in and out of the facility while children are nearby is a recipe for disaster.

Accidents Happen

People will be carrying firearms from their vehicles to the facility and vice versa. If we’re to believe how popular this range will be, there’s the distinct possibility of people milling around with their firearms waiting for a shooting lane to become available. Range customers may be showing off their firearm to a friend in the parking lot.  That parking lot is actually going to be closer to the school bus route and the childrens’ bus stop than the range.

The builder also plans on having gun rentals.  There is no requirement for background checks on gun rentals. That can lead to inexperienced shooters handling guns from the gun shop to the shooting range. No background checks can result in rentals to the mentally unstable and those with criminal backgrounds.

There are numerous nightmare scenarios when you combine many people, unvetted and/or with questionable experience, with many firearms in one place.

Accidents happen.

And an accident that happens in a setting like this, with residential homes and children nearby, is inexcusable. Particularly when the residents and children were there first. And particularly when the county had the chance to reject the proposal. It’s not only a recipe for tragedy and disaster, it’s a recipe for major legal action.

Oh, and let’s dispense with the weak argument from proponents of this range that accidents can happen anywhere. “You can slip in your shower and get killed”, they say. Well, everyone has to take a shower (hopefully). Not everyone has to have a gun range in their backyard. There are better locations.

The Common Sense Factor

I’ll venture to say there isn’t another outdoor gun range in the United States this close to pre-existing school bus stops and homes.

It’s just common sense. You don’t do that.

But this entire proposal just doesn’t make sense, unless you only look at it through the soda straw of the builder’s wishes and convenience.

As one person said, all you have to do is stand on the site and look around. There are dozens of homes around, playgrounds are visible, school bus stops are a stone’s throw away, cows are grazing just feet away, a highly trafficked US route 33 is within a few hundred feet. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

This is not an appropriate location for a shooting range. Please find an alternate, more suitable location.

10 thoughts on “Bad mix: Gun Ranges & School Buses”

  1. I am a member of two area Gun Clubs, one in Charlottesville and the other in Gordonsville. Both these clubs are surrounded by residential homes, to include very expensive houses that were built long after I moved to this area (July of 2000). In fact, there is a brand new Residential Sub-Division that is being built just over a thousand yards from one of these clubs right now.

    Ever since I moved to Greene County in late 2001, it is not unusual for me to hear gunfire at all hours of the day or night. In fact, I know of quite a few individuals who have built their own ranges in their backyards. Why? Because the closest ranges that is open to the public is almost an hours away. Not everyone wants to wait the 3-years to become a member of a club. Others do not want to drive 45-minutes and attend multiple meetings, briefings and work parties over a minimum of a 2-month period to join.

    To try and say that the existence of the proposed range is going to put residents in greater danger is ridiculous. I propose it will make things safer because the proposed range is ultimately a safer venue for folks to shoot their guns. You are as much in danger from someone transporting their guns from their car to the firing line as just driving around Greene County. Here is a hint: JUST ABOUT EVERYONE IN GREENE COUNTY CARRIES A GUN ON THEIR PERSON AND/OR IN THEIR CAR. The only ones who do not are the out-of-townies who move here and try to force their SHEEPLE lifestyle on everyone else.

    The Durrers proposed this range in response to a very real demand. People are looking for a safe place to shoot in lieu of stepping out their back porch and blasting away.

    And as far as your assertion that “there isn’t another outdoor gun range in the United States this close to a school bus stop and homes”; would it shut you and the other whiners up if someone were to prove you wrong?

    1. Not chuck you are the man. You just said a mouthful my friend and a true one st that. Thank you for the “in favor” support.

    2. Thanks for your comments NotChuck.

      We also have members of gun ranges in our group opposed to this gun range location. Again, we are not against one in Greene County. Not at all. This is just not the location for one. For the numerous reasons outlined elsewhere in this blog.

      Your example of the Charlottesville and Gordonsville shooting ranges is not the same as this situation. The new subdivision that you mention going in around the gun range highlights a major difference. Our homes are ALREADY HERE. They have been. We would never have built here if a gun range was already here. We and most of the others near the proposed range location built our homes well before the gun shop was here as well.

      If you’re talking about the Piedmont Sportsman Club on Cox Mill Rd in Gordonsville, that’s nowhere near the same setting either. It’s fairly rural with only a handful of homes within a half mile radius. We’re not sure if the homes or range were built first, either. And they may have very well done the neighborly thing and discussed building the range with those few neighbors before they actually built it. And perhaps they ran professional noise studies like the Albemarle County Regional Firearms Training Center did before they approved it.

      We have members of the Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club in our group opposed to this location, if that’s the club you belong to. As you know, that’s in an extremely rural, wooded area with very few homes. Not anything like this proposed location where many homes can see the range from their yards. We’d welcome it if they proposed a gun range in a similar Greene County location. There are many more suitable locations to the west, away from the Orange County line, that would not affect many, if any, homes. Plus, the terrain and forestry can be used as buffers for the noise.

      Note that the Albemarle County Regional Firearms Training Center was moved to Milton, where they’re building now, because their previous proposed location upset homeowners who lived nearby. They listened.

      Regarding your comment that “not everyone wants to wait to join a club”, I submit that vetting members of gun clubs is actually a good thing. An open range renting firearms without any vetting can lead to tragic consequences.

      If our claim that residents will be in greater danger is “ridiculous”, why are the vast majority of open air ranges away from homes and in rural areas? People with firearms congregating in one place, some unchecked and untrained, preparing to shoot them at a 20-lane open air range near homes and children VERSUS a farm with cows grazing…that first scenario depicts much greater danger in most people’s eyes.

      You’re correct, a range done right that teaches gun safety and gives folks a place besides their yards to shoot their guns is a good thing. But location is important. You can’t just drop it anywhere. You can’t just drop it next to your gun shop because that’s the easiest way to do it. There are families living next door and all around.

      Calling us “whining” when we’re trying to protect our investments, quality of life, and the safety of our children is just plain insensitive and selfish. We are hard working people who have put most of our investments into our homes. Homes that will lose, when you add it all up, millions of dollars in value. You (and the builder) just want a gun range more convenient to you. There are many alternative locations in the county where a range can be built and be good for everyone. This is absolutely the wrong place.

      Please do let us know of an open air range that was built among so many homes that were already there (the number is about 130 within a half mile), right off of a route traveled as heavily as Rt 33, with school bus traffic just a few hundred feet away. Oh, and throw in the fact that about a dozen homes have line-of-sight of the proposed range. In the meantime, we’ll keep “whining” for them to find an appropriate location.

  2. As to other ranges close to the roads and homes get in your car and ride north to Clarke brothers and see that range and where it is at and how busy a location. And it is nothing compared to this range. As for people shooting unwatched that’s not gonna happen. I’m sure we are gonna have range officers to watch and you are talking to one now.

    1. We’re familiar with the Clark Brothers gun shop and range. They’re right off Rt 29 in Warrenton. They’ve been there since the 1950s. It’s true that they are in an odd location for a gun range, but I would bet that the area built up around them since the 1950s. Additionally, they are actually not near a whole lot of homes. Outside of a few rural properties to the south and west, there’s only one residential development within a half mile to the northeast. And those homes were built well after Clark Brothers were there.

      Apples and oranges.

      Not the same situation.

      1. Oh yeah it is the same situation. You just don’t wont to admit it. You are against this one plan and simple cause it is near you. How is it apples and oranges?

        1. We thought we were more clear in the reply.


          Apples and oranges because:
          (1) Clark Brothers was there well before the houses were built (1957), and
          (2) there’s nowhere near as many homes within a half mile of them as this proposed location.

  3. Dude you have got to be kidding me. You are pulling out all the stops on ignorance. Seems to me you have an extreme dislike for the durrers and want to sway everyone else to. Not gonna happen they been here a lifetime. Your petition is bogus to. Over 90% of those people have never seen or heard of Greene county.

    1. Thanks for your comments Eric. The Durrers do seem like very nice people. We have absolutely no animosity towards them. We’re neighbors after all. We just don’t think this is an appropriate location for an outdoor shooting range. The NRA’s own guidelines say so. And when you compare this proposal to other ranges near homes, please compare apples to apples – is it an outdoor range? More importantly, were the residential homes there first?

      A lot of this is about being a good neighbor. Not sure why how long someone has lived in the county is so important to this issue. It’s not. It’s a matter of respecting your neighbors.

      About your comment that 90% of petition signers are from outside the area…well, you must have been looking at another petition. 40% live in Greene County and 43% are from Charlottesville. That’s 83% in this region. Not that it matters anyway. This petition welcomes anyone anywhere to sign if they agree that a shooting range has no place so close to homes.

      Maybe a better question is how many proponents of the range live within a mile of it?

  4. Mr. Hensley, dear sir…. you seem kinda ignorant . We all have to live in the same community… It would seem like, we should try to work together. I dare say, you would NOT want this in your backyard ! No one is against the gun range.. Just NOT in this location !!

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