Local News

Military-style training event moved from Harnett County farm

Posted May 13, 2010
Updated May 14, 2010

— A firearms training event won’t happen as planned on a Fuquay-Varina farm.

A three-day workshop planned for Memorial Day weekend at Drake Landing was canceled after WRAL News began asking questions.

The location, a family farm in Fuquay-Varina, has offered the training before under the umbrella of “agritourism,” a term the state defines as offering traditional rural activities to the public. Drake Landing offers amenities including a shooting range located about three-quarters of a mile from the road.

Military-style training event moved from farm Military-style training event moved from farm

The owner of Viking Training, Melynda Lamb, said it conducted a day-and-night course at the farm before.

“There are no buffers. There’s no safety barriers or anything,” neighbor Kent Jeffries said.

“When you have 12 to 15 individuals all firing military style weapons at the same time, it’s very unpleasant,” Jeffries said.

Lamb said her company is committed to having a good relationship with neighbors. She said she was not aware of the concerns around Drake Landing until Wednesday and plans never to have a course there again.

Jeffries says he's not out to curb anyone's second amendment rights, saying he owns guns himself. He just thinks the farm should be better regulated.

“I’m not aware of any of the neighbors that have ever been consulted about any of these activities,” he said.

In a letter from the state Agriculture Department last year, the farm's shooting range was considered a traditional rural activity, no different from a sporting clays course, and exempt from county zoning laws.

Viking Tactics training events are open to civilians and cost $600 per person. Participants use semi-automatic weapons.

“We’ll certainly, as a county, be looking into to see where it falls as far as agritourism is concerned,” Harnett County Senior Planner Mark Locklear said.

Brian Long, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, said it’s ultimately up to local government to determine what constitutes agricultural activity: “We have no regulatory authority in a situation like this," he said.

County commissioner Dan Andrews owns the farm and his son manages it. Neither responded to several requests for comment.


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  • Qbee May 14, 2010

    Funny how the questions are only aimed at law abiding citizens and events that tend to be more conservative in nature. Where were the questions when Obamacare was pushed down our throats? My family visits Drake Landing often and it is a very safe and family oriented place, both for those on the property and the surrounding area. This has to the most pathetic attempt at an objective news story that I have ever seen.

  • emtp2k May 14, 2010

    Hey Jasmcc,
    If you have been to Drakes to shoot in the rifle or pistol areas you would know that there are indeed protective barriers in place. The funny thing is that if someone told this Mr. Jeffries what he could do with his land I am sure he would be up in arms. I live near the range, and I have no problems with the shooting that goes on there.

  • emtp2k May 14, 2010

    Sad that journalism at WRAL has sunk so low as to bash a local business in this way. The training that was to be conducted there wasn't "military style" training. It was in the proper use of rifles (there is a difference). The video they showed was of someone shooting a fully automatic weapon at a different class, a weapon which wouldn't have been used at the training class that was being given. Drake Landing has protective berms in place and the owners are professional in the way they run the place. Sad that WRAL sees the need to stoop to this level. It would be nice to see some true objective reporting for once. Maybe it's time to boycott the WRAL and the people who advertise during their news shows.

  • wralgolo2 May 14, 2010

    Drake Landing is an organized facility. The neighbor is just upset over sound.

    Of all the places I've ever shot at, never have I ever been to a place where I've been around intoxicated shooters. Not sure what you're suggesting with that comment.

  • k9sandQtrs May 14, 2010

    WRAL did seem to put an "evil" spin on things.... But, I'd much rather people shoot at an organized facility, where they're more likely to be sober, etc, since they most likely don't want to get kicked off the farm or range.
    It's very un-nerving to just hear random "blam-blam-blam" from out of nowhere when you're outside working in your backyard.

  • Amp May 14, 2010

    What else can WRAL save us from?

  • wralgolo2 May 14, 2010

    Perhaps WRAL should retitle this story to "Guns are the Devil"?

  • handbasket May 14, 2010

    aww WRAL, I feel so sorry for you. there goes your easy 3day lead story for memorial wknd. now you'll have to look for some other pro-Christian, pro-family, pro-life, pro-gun, ANTI-racist event/group to DEMONIZE. what a shame. you only have 2 wks to find it!

  • wralgolo2 May 14, 2010

    Another interesting fact showing WRAL's bias is the lack of the vote button for this topic. Knowing that this is a very hot topic, they apparently decided to format this story's page in a manner to prevent it from staying on the top of their stories list.

    tisk tisk WRAL

  • wralgolo2 May 14, 2010

    This is taken from another thread where someone posted why the main stream media and general public is opposed to such training.

    Sheep is referring to people who blindly follow others with belief that their government is capable of providing everything they need.

    "We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world."

    "The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence."