Hood County Neighbors Upset About Gun Range Moving in Their Subdivision

How would you like to have a firing range as your neighbor? It's happening in a Hood County subdivision near Granbury.

Several people there are saying not in my neighborhood, but the County Attorney says right now the gun range is perfectly legal.

You don't have to live in rural Hood County to be close to the action.

Carolyn Godwin just wanted peace and quiet when she moved there from Houston for a patch of land, a couple of horses and the occasional neighbor for company.

"It's friends and family on this road and I’ve lived here 26 years, so I know the neighborhood," Godwin said.

But there's a new neighbor moving in Godwin and several of her friends don't want.

Jack Wilson is building a gun range on five and a half acres at the end of the road.

"We made sure that the property had no restrictions,” said Wilson. “It fit what we needed, what we wanted to retire on and build on."

He's promising top safety protections. The range will only hold up to five people at a time, firing into a thick clay berm backed by thicker cement blocks. The range has walls on either side and Wilson plans to add a roof by the end of the year.

He hopes to open for business on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

“My goal is to get an individual as comfortable with a handgun as they are with tying their shoes,” Wilson said.

But all the neighbors can imagine is problems with noise, lead contamination and safety.

"Strangers coming down carrying firearms," said Godwin.

County commissioners are set to take a look at this during their regular board meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 9 a.m.

"I'm gonna tell them that's way too close to my house," said another neighbor Billy Lail.

The County Attorney says commissioners don't have a lot of options. They cannot regulate a shooting range specifically.

They can invoke a state law to outlaw anyone from firing a gun on the property. But then that same rule would apply to every other subdivision property in unincorporated Hood County that's on less than ten acres.

Wilson promises to be a good neighbor.

"I’m well aware of the issues with soil contamination, water contamination,” Wilson said. “It's not my first day on the job on this."

His last day ended in flames, when his longtime Whiskey Flats range "On Target Firearms" burned in an electrical fire.

Wilson says this operation will be smaller and quieter.

“It will be just for qualifications and/or private lessons. It’s not a public range, per se,” said Wilson. “It will not be just John Doe driving up and saying 'hey, I want to shoot.'"

But as they watch their quiet corner change, there's no selling it to concerned neighbors.

"We're all comfortable here now, and now we can't be," said Godwin.

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