GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Westchester homeowners are taking sides over what to do about a controversial gun range.
The battle moved from the neighborhood to Greenburgh Town Hall on Tuesday.
Gun enthusiasts packed the meeting in defense of their besieged suburban shooting range. Nearby residents have said they want the open-air facility, which is built in an old rock quarry, closed, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.
“We are not talking about golf balls; we are talking about bullets and bullets can kill,” neighbor Pam Epstein said.
The Westchester Police Revolver and Rifle League is a private non-profit dating back to the 1940s and is not affiliated with a police agency. The small range is nestled at the base of a sheer rock wall that is about 30 feet high. After 73 years of operation, the outdoor range on Ardsley Road is being threatened with restrictions, like a quarter-mile buffer zone that operators say would put them out of business, by residents of nearby Ardsley Chase, a new subdivision where home prices start at $1.2 million.
“I don’t think if someone is living in the town of Greenburgh and having a barbecue they should have to wear a bulletproof vest,” Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said.
“This is an incredible public safety hazard and it must be moved,” one woman said.
Gun range enthusiasts disagreed for a number of reasons.
“The residents of Greenburgh who use the shooting range should be offered the same protections as the new residents of Ardsley Chase,” gun range supporter Hugh McAuley said.
“There is only one outdoor shooting range in the town of Greenburgh and there aren’t plans to build any more. This legislation is an improper and illegal attempt to put us out of existence,” gun range attorney Robert Berkowitz said.
Last month, a woman was hit in the leg by a piece of metal as she walked in her backyard. Ballistics testing is underway to see if it’s a bullet fragment.
The range operators insist the steep angle of the old quarry and the position of the shooting stations make it impossible for bullets to escape. The attorney for the range added firing ports were designed to stop stray bullets.
“If you try to go outside the port to the left or outside the port to the right, it can’t be done,” Berkowitz said.
Feiner is floating an option that might satisfy range supporters and nervous residents alike, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
“The potential compromise that I could envision would be to let them continue operate if they make it an indoor gun range,” Feiner said. “Nobody’s going to be hit from a stray bullet if the building is enclosed.”
A range spokesman has said they are willing to make changes.
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