SULTAN — A controversial shooting range might wind up in the line of fire on Wednesday.
The Snohomish County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing to discuss turning an east county gravel pit into a no-shooting area at the request of neighbors.
If the pit is closed, the council may solve one problem as it creates another.
“When we try to shut everything down, folks just move to another location,” County Councilman Dave Somers said. “The ultimate answer is to have a facility that’s safe and open to the public.”
A new shooting area may not open soon, however, leaving shooters wondering where they should go.
What we're talking about, I suppose, are rural settings on the outskirts of small towns. Shooters naturally look for places where they can practice and have fun. But it creates problems. Contrary to the claims of many who comment on gun blogs, not everyone who goes out shooting knows how to behave themselves in a responsible manner. Let me clarify that, I say that a too high percentage of them are bad apples.
Word spread, and a steady flow of gun owners began coming to the pit. Many behaved themselves, peppering paper targets with holes before carrying out garbage.
Some didn’t, leaving behind empty beer cans and spent shells.
No one can recall an injury at the pit, but residents living within a mile complain of constant noise. They hear gunfire after nightfall, when it’s illegal to shoot. Occasionally, they hear explosions.
“It has been completely out of control,” Chuck Miller, 82, said.
Residents living near the pit gathered 32 signatures on a petition last fall, causing the county to consider closing the spot. They want their quiet mountain setting back.
Drinking beer while shooting, leaving trash behind, shooting after dark, blowing stuff up, now that sounds like the gun owners I know. How about you? Are these the characteristics of an inconsequential minority, just a few bad apples, or is this par for the course for many?
In my Famous 10% post, I assigned an extremely tiny percentage to gun owners who have problems with alcohol and drugs and those who are just plain reckless. I attempted to highlight only the worst of the worst. But what does this story sound like to you? I'd say it's more like 20% or 30% who are acting up.
Once I asked about shot-up road signs. In response I got everything from silence and avoidance to "Never seen one m'self." But I'll bet some of the patrons of the Sultan gravel pit have shot some road signs in their day.
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.