MARK HOLMBERG: New gun range starting off with a bang, some neighbors complain

Posted at 11:38 PM, Apr 09, 2012

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)--The brand-new, state-of-the-art Colonial Shooting Academy and firing range on W. Broad Street is starting off with a bang.

At least,  that’s what some nearby neighbors are complaining about.

“It’s regular, it’s gun practice,” said neighbor David Martin, who lives about four blocks to the north. “It sounds like artillery. When I was a kid I lived down by the beach, and you’d hear artillery.”

John Quinn lives just down the street from Martin. “I knew it was going in,” Quinn said. “I just figured they would insulate it first so that I didn’t think you’d hear it, gunshots, you know. You can definitely hear them.”

Darrell McNair, who lives about a block away in an apartment complex, said it’s enough to wake him up in the morning. “Yes, I hear it in the morning about 8 o’clock, 8 o’clock every morning . . . really loud."

The issue:  the downrange end of the facility faces to the north. When shooters are firing small arms, you can barely hear it immediately outside of the masonry walls of the refurbished Colonial furniture store. But when higher powered rifles and shotguns are fired, there are bigger explosions, deeper booms that can be heard from blocks away.

“I can hear in my driveway,” said Gray Barbour, a former deputy and gun rights supporter who lives about two blocks from the range. “I can even hear it when everything is closed up and I’m watching television.”

The law is on the side of the range. “The police officer I spoke with said there’s nothing that could be done,” Martin said. “It doesn’t violate Henrico’s noise ordinance at this point.”

Henrico County prohibits “unreasonably loud, disturbing, and unnecessary noise.” There are no guarantees that residents will not be disturbed by noise from time to time.

And it’s really not that loud, more like audible booms, something like a neighbor down the street slamming a car door.  Some of the nearby residents we spoke with hadn’t even noticed them.

Jenny True, who also lives in the apartment complex just north of  the range, said she didn’t mind the new noise at all. “I feel like I’m in the country. I’m from Amelia,” she said. As she spoke, the muffled shots could be heard in the distance. Does that bother her? “No, not at all,” she said.

One of the range’s managers spoke off camera, saying as soon as they heard their first complaint they consulted with their contractor and started planning to add more insulation on the north wall and ceiling, as well as thickening the rubber mats that are part of the bullet-trapping system.

Martin said it’s not about guns, it’s about noise. “I’m all for people learning to use their firearms correctly,” he said. “But not at the expense of all the noise for the neighborhood.”

The Colonial Shooting Academy is located at 6020 W. Broad Street. Its website it here: