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Harnett leaders could vote Thursday on status of shooting range

Posted January 10, 2013

— Two days after listening to the concerns of homeowners for more than five hours, Harnett County leaders on Thursday will hear more debate about whether a shooting range should lose its agritourism classification and be forced to close. 

Drake Landing, a family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina with a shooting range, has been at the center of controversy for more than a year because neighbors say the gunfire makes them uneasy. 

Dozens voiced their displeasure Tuesday, with many who live nearby saying they don't feel safe. 

"We can hear it quite loudly, particularly during the winter when the leaves are off the trees," Ted Martin said. "My dogs won't even leave the porch."

According to the Harnett County Sheriff's Office, there have been at least five cases of stray bullets hitting cars or homes in the area. It's unclear if any or all of those bullets were fired from Drake Landing, but many neighbors say it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. 

"I'm former military, and I have been a range officer," Martin said. "I have seen what fool-proof ranges can do, and there is always some fool out there that can defeat it."

Because it currently falls under the agritourism umbrella, Drake Landing shooting range isn't subject to county zoning laws.

If the Board of Adjustment votes Thursday to revoke that classification, the farm will be forced to shut down the shooting range. Thursday's meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the Harnett County legislative building on East Front Street in Lillington.

An attorney for the owner, a former county commissioner who was present at Tuesday's meeting, said he did not want to comment until after a decision is made.

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  • sicntired Jan 11, 1:20 p.m.

    If Drake is forced to close (which I don't think it should be), then the hunters in Harnett county need to be stopped as well....they drive like crazy around and through neighborhoods...and are no where NEAR as safe as DRake is......

  • piene2 Jan 10, 5:09 p.m.

    "By all means, PLEASE enlighten us all as to exactly how many of the pistol packing fools with legal concealed carry permits have shot anyone other than when legally defending themselves or others from crime!!!
    veryfrustrated1"

    Fine, for starters let us just look at highly trained professional pistol packing Yahoos. Let us look at the two highly trained professional pistol packing cops that have shot themselves recently. that sounds pretty irresponsible to me. you want more? Fine, let us go to the highly trained professional pistol packing cop in New york City that shot nine innocent bystanders recently. That too sounds pretty irresponsible to me. so the cops are not any better then the rest of the pistol packing Yahoos. We have some six hundred accidental shootings a year. Add to that shootings over disagreements and such.

  • paddie Jan 10, 5:02 p.m.

    Damien, my family knows them personally. I agree with you that you can close the range but not the shooting per se. But you can reduce it a LOT. Obviously my sympathies lie with the home owners who were there first and have to listen to this all day and can't relax on their own property.

  • piene2 Jan 10, 4:57 p.m.

    "That is a shame then. It sounds like this place was here before the people complaining.
    Damien Thorne

    Oh does it now? Does it really? Well how does this sound? Go to Google Earth, pull up the range, go to street view and look at the mostly thirty year old or older houses around it. Than tell us what it "sounds" like

  • JJ Jan 10, 4:55 p.m.

    I have been to Drake’s Landing many times for both corporate events and personal recreation.
    The entire staff is professional and knowledgeable and their primary concern is safety.
    The facility is top notch and is the best place around for Sporting Clays and target practice.
    I hope that Harnett County leaders do not close this facility.

  • Damien Thorne Jan 10, 4:46 p.m.

    "Damien Thorne, The former commissioner or his son own this place. The former commissioners name is Dan Andrews."----paddie

    I appreciate the information, you would seem to know more about it then I do. It seems though if he had any pull this would not be happening.

    I would like to point out though that even if you close the range down you cannot prevent them from shooting there. All they can do is make them stop running a business of it. They can still allow people to shoot there all they want as long as the do not charge for it and the shooters take their own liability for any incidents.

    Probably worse off if they do.

  • paddie Jan 10, 3:46 p.m.

    Damien Thorne, The former commissioner or his son own this place. The former commissioners name is Dan Andrews.

  • Damien Thorne Jan 10, 3:44 p.m.

    "Of course I'm talking about OVER the buffer. From the pictures they had on their website of the rifle range, it didn't look like it would take much elevation for an errant round to leave the range."

    Looking at the pictures on the website as well it would appear there is only a small opening to shoot though, one that would prevent a rifle from being able to shoot at a high enough angle to overshoot the berms. That would be of the 200 yard rifle range.

    Anyone can find a way around anything of course.

  • Damien Thorne Jan 10, 3:39 p.m.

    "But I would like more information on this. The investigators have had over a year to figure this out, or at least rule out the range. Has any type of report been issued? Have they even said whether or not the houses are lined up with the shooting range? I don't know if the lack of info is poor reporting from WRAL or slack investigators.

    While it might be impossible to prove a round came from the range, it should be pretty simple to determine if it was a possibility."----Lightfoot3

    That is something that keeps setting off flags to me. I have never known any law enforcement entity to not forward a guess or at least mention something as a possibility. The sheriffs dept. here has done neither, which leads me to the only logical conclusion that they do not think it came from this range.

    Nothing, no "it is possible" or anything about the range when they said what they did about bullet holes or mention anything about the range being investigated. Commissioners look at that.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 10, 3:36 p.m.

    "Mine was only to stop a neighbor on a 1 acre plot shooting recklessly." - Damien Thorne


    Ashen-Shugar made similar Johnston County claims. Are you familiar with him?

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