"What we fear is the unknown": Community leaders oppose indoor shooting range proposal

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that plans for the first public indoor shooting range in Columbus are being opposed by some area residents.

From the story:

A company wants to open a gun shop and range at a former Sun TV appliance store at 1030 Alum Creek Dr., just south of Livingston Avenue near I-70.

The Livingston Avenue Area Commission already approved a special permit for the range, as did the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment last week.

But some residents say the last thing a neighborhood plagued by violence needs is a gun shop and a place for people to fire them.

"We don't need membership to a shooting range. They shoot out here every day," said Gina Hawthorne-Hill, a Driving Park community leader.

"This is a smack in the face."

Others said they didn't have enough notice on the proposal.

"What we fear is the unknown," said South Side leader Debera Diggs.

Bryan Boatright, the area commission's vice president, told the newspaper the range would require memberships and FBI background checks.

"We are an area starved for businesses," Boatright is quoted as saying. "In our eyes, we couldn't see a negative impact."

The 52,862-square-foot building used to house an Ohio Adult Parole Authority office, the Riser Military School and Sun TV. An Ohio Department of Youth Services parole office remains in the building.

The area is zoned for industrial use, including gun shops, said Chris Presutti, chief zoning official.

And the board felt it was an appropriate land use for a firing range, Presutti said.

Hill-Hawthorne said she plans to file an appeal with the Franklin County Common Pleas Court on behalf of her group, the Driving Park Civic Coalition.

Others want more information.

"My interest is, what will it do for the community. Will it be a plus or will it be a minus?" said long-time Driving Park leader James Johnson.

Bruce Black, who leads the Berwick Civic Association, said he wants the property owner to meet with residents.

Bob Previts, who runs the Accredited Firearms Training Academy and Gun Club, said Columbus needs an indoor range. He said many gun owners have to travel outside the city to shoot.

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