Report Has Mixed Review on Garland Gun Range's Safety

Report by court-appointed expert says range does not entirely meet safety standards

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    NEWSLETTERS

    An independent report gives the Garland Public Shooting Range mixed safety reviews and validates concerns of nearby residents who say their homes have been hit by stray bullets. (Published Monday, Apr 8, 2013)

    An independent evaluation filed by a court-appointed expert found mixed results in a review of the safety of a Garland gun range.

    The Garland Public Shooting Range has been at odds with Rowlett residents who say stray bullets from the range have hit their homes.

    According to a report filed to the 95th District Court by a court-appointed expert, the Garland Public Shooting range does not entirely meet suggested safety standards to operate safely.

    Because of range's location, bullets can fly toward neighborhoods, so more safety upgrades will have to be put in place, the report said.

    "The main high-velocity rifle range faces directly towards and is well within the shooting and possible projectile ricochet distance of a populated residential area, a well-traveled cross street and other down-range populated areas," the report said.

    The Bowman family, which says a stray bullet from the range struck its home in last year, said the report validates its concerns.

    "What if somebody had gotten hurt or even killed?" Janine Bowman said. "To be honest, I was hoping they would look at the range and say, 'OK,' and then we can just drop the case and be done with it. Unfortunately, it confirmed everything we've been saying."

    The range's owner already made safety upgrades, including raising a 20-foot berm, but the report said the range needs to "continue to aggressively modify, upgrade and implement their operational shooting range safety plans in accordance with those suggestions found in the National Rifle Association's publication 'Range Source Book.'"

    "I think the danger of the gun range is implicit in his report," Rowlett city attorney David Berman said. "Our goal has never been to shut them down unless we couldn't get safety measurements put in place; then there wouldn't be any other option."

    The report comes after the judge's rare visit to the range in November and an ongoing court battle.

    Randal Mathis, attorney for the range owner, has long maintained that the range is safe but the owner is willing to keep making upgrades.

    "I hope that we can get into the courthouse and this be final -- no more hearings, no more trials," Bowman said. "I hope this is done and final so we can go on with our lives."

    The report will be presented to the judge on April 22, when he is expected to make a final decision.