New Clay Sports Shooting Ranch Sparks Noisy Debate in Far SW Fort Worth - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

New Clay Sports Shooting Ranch Sparks Noisy Debate in Far SW Fort Worth

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    Shooting Ranch Sparks Noisy Debate in Far SW Fort Worth

    A new gun range near several Benbrook neighborhoods is raising concerns from folks who can't stand the frequent sounds of gunfire. (Published Thursday, July 12, 2018)

    A new gun range near several Benbrook neighborhoods is raising concerns from folks who can't stand the frequent sounds of gunfire.

    The Defender Outdoors Clay Sports Ranch is in far Southwest Fort Worth, with three Benbrook subdivisions a mile or less away. NBC 5 went to the range to hear from both sides of this noisy debate.

    On a Thursday afternoon, 14-year-old Colt Duval was out honing his skills and learning his form at Defender Outdoors Clay Sports Ranch. But while his sights were set on the target ahead of him, the sounds of his practice carried far beyond the shooting range to the yards and even inside the homes of surrounding neighborhoods.

    "We're barely out of bed and you wake up to gunfire," said Mark Xepoleas.

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    He and several of his neighbors are fed up.

    "In any part of my house I can hear the popping, and especially in my back yard," said Matt Collard.

    It's worst on tournament days on the weekends roughly every other month. A neighbor sent us cell phone video of near continuous gunfire during one of the events.

    Brian Luig has an even more pressing concern. He's trying to sell his high-dollar home.

    "I'm very concerned of what's going to happen if there is a showing, there's a tournament going on at the shooting range and potential buyers walk in to the oasis of our back yard and then hear all that gunfire," Luig said.

    Travis Mears and his partners opened the clay shooting ranch in January. It's on unincorporated land in Tarrant County, which meant fewer permitting hurdles.

    "We're in the country but we're close to town so it's really a good fit," Mears said.

    He points out there's already noise in the area from loop 820, jets taking off at a nearby military base and a passing train. He did make changes when he heard complaints from neighbors to the south.

    "We immediately flipped the whole course over from the south side of the road over to the north side. They're facing away," Mears said. "I've gone down and listened to the shots since we've flipped the course. I feel like it's made a huge difference."

    And on Thursday night, he invited neighbors over to hear their concerns and let them tour the place.

    "We're going to do our best to make everybody happy and be good neighbors," Mears said.

    But to many neighbors, the changes will need to be major.

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    "Could it be moved back, could some kind of barrier go up?" Xepoleas asked.

    To bring peace back to their back yards.

    There were about 40 people at the meeting Thursday night. Mears told NBC 5 he can’t build barrier walls but he is planning to make more changes after hearing their concerns, including adjusting the range closest to neighboring homes, to reduce noise.

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