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Frederick County Residents Unhappy With Idea Of New Gun Range

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Frederick County residents up in arms over plans for a firing range at Sugerloaf Mountain. Opponents will continue their arguments in a meeting Tuesday night.

Pat Warren has more on their complaints.

Rural Frederick County, home of Sugarloaf Mountain Nature Preserve—a winery, wedding venue, equestrian center and secluded homes—is now the potential site for a firing range.

“We will hear constant gunfire,” said Doug Kaplan.

Doug and Peggy Kaplan, gun enthusiasts themselves, oppose the range for the same reason hundreds of residents are asking the zoning board not to allow it built: the noise.

Since the range must meet safety standards, it requires a special exception from the zoning appeals board and County Commissioner Billy Shreve says the owner is prepared to meet those requirements.

“This is an environmental education center as well as a training center for firearms. One of the ranges is completely indoors; they also have simulators. This would be the most advanced facility for firearms training in the state,” Shreve said.

But even with limited outdoor shooting and noise barriers, owners of the Greenbriar Pet Facility worry about the effect gunfire would have on their animals.

“I’m less concerned about what I can hear, less concerned about what my staff can hear. I’m more concerned about what my dogs can hear and everybody knows that dogs’ hearing is twice as good as ours,” they said.

But supporters of the range say it’s perfectly legal.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about property rights,” Shreve said.

For the Kaplans, it’s us or them.

“We would have to move, that is for sure, and that would break my heart,” Peggy Kaplan said.

A hearing Thursday started in the early afternoon and didn’t end until late Thursday night. It continues Tuesday evening. That meeting got underway at 6.

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