Residents Fired Up Over Possible Firing Range

- FREDERICK, Md. - Many residents and business owners took over Winchester Hall in Frederick for a public hearing, fired up over the possibility of a firing range coming to the area.

They said it will be too noisy, that’s why they’re making their voices heard.  

“We have a beautiful, rural, tranquil atmosphere here and this will completely disrupt it. It's the camel’s nose under the tent for massive changes in the Sugarloaf area. We say no to this shooting range, a thousand times no,” said Robin Ficker.

“My NRA neighbors far outweigh my other neighbors, it's not the guns, it's the noise. It's in an area with neighborhoods, there's an elementary school, it's just not the appropriate place,” said Kelsey Roos, who lives 1500 ft. from the proposed firing range.

Some are concerned about the impact it could have on local businesses.

“The horse boarding training facilities, as well as the local inn that holds weddings. You know having an outdoor wedding next to a gun range will probably not attract customers,” said Wayne Edelen of the Sugarloaf Alliance.

County officials said the Old Line Academy firing range could be approved if there’s evidence that the application meets requirements of the zoning ordinance.

“They may find the adverse impacts, the traffic and the noise would be greater here than elsewhere and that would justify them in denying the application,” said County Attorney Michael Chomel.

Those with the Old Line Academy said the facility would include training, education and self defense for 4-H youth programs, the boys scouts, and others in the community. They also said it would include free yoga instructions for veterans returning home.

“From our perspective the law is the law, so it really doesn't matter if people are opposed to this. If we meet the requirements under the law that's all that should matter,” said William Valois, of Old Line Academy.

The hearing started at 1 p.m. Thursday and is expected to last through the evening. County officials said if more people want to speak, the hearing could roll over to Tuesday, September 2.

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