It is the classic NIMBY response from residents along the Sultan Basin Road in Snohomish County, where a proposed gun range is now in the political and legal crosshairs.
The president of a nearby nudist resort, the Lake Bronson Club, tells the Seattle Times that his group is not opposed to a gun range, essentially so long as it is somewhere else. If developed where gun range proponents are now suggesting, then the sound of shooting would spoil the “quiet and solitude” that Bronson Club members and guests desire.
“We don’t mind, so long as it is ‘not in my back yard’.”
On the other hand, developing a range would fulfill a promise from Snohomish County to recreational shooters that the loss of other shooting sites would be somewhat alleviated by developing a formal range. The proposal is supported by the county government and the sheriff’s department, according to the Times story.
“We’re not opposed to a gun range. We think this is a bad site.”—Earl Calkins, president of the Lake Bronson Club
This brings to focus a longtime problem for recreational shooters: Finding a safe place to shoot. Impromptu gun ranges in gravel pits are a real problem. Irresponsible shooting in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest’s North Bend ranger district has resulted in shooting closures in corridors along I-90 and the Snoqualmie Middle Fork valley.
So, where are recreational shooters supposed to go? Of course, the NIMBY crowd doesn’t care so long as it is far away from their comfort zone.
It’s the “We don’t want your kind around here” syndrome. And let’s be completely honest here, there is always just a bit of social bigotry hiding just under the surface of these arguments.
On the other hand, some shooters have been pigs, although that may be an insult to real pigs. Leaving old computers, televisions, kitchen appliances, car hulks and other garbage in the woods at these informal shooting areas is worse than an eyesore. It is the kind of thing that convinces people that all gun owners are the slobs of the editorial cartoon caricatures.
There have been occasions even at the developed gun range I use when I’ve found that people have shot up vegetables, watermelons, plastic bottles and assorted cans and just left the mess. Of course, one never finds these “Who, me?” people.
No easy answers are ever available to solve such a dilemma. On thing is certain. People will go shooting. The ultimate question for the NIMBYs is whether they would like that shooting to occur in a safe place, or in impromptu areas that may not be so safe.
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