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Old July 1, 2013, 05:07 PM   #51
thallub
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Actually, bullets leaving a range property are fine -- it is called "safety fan" design.
Bullets leaving a firing range is never "fine" or safe. This statement is a contradiction. The term "safety fan" comes from the US military. The US military controls the land to the maximum range of the round being fired. You can't have a safety anything if rounds are leaving the firing range.

Many old firing ranges were constructed with very little forethought or safety consideration. If peoples homes are being hit by bullets, endangering the lives of the occupants, then the range should be shut down or redesigned.

Recently a guy on one of the websites i visit recommend the use of a large round hay bale for a backstop.
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Old July 1, 2013, 05:07 PM   #52
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The problem with the "safety fan" notion is that most ranges don't own the land on which they are assuming there is a "safety fan." They are basing their range's safety on the risk incurred by the properties around them that they don't own. That is a problem.

It really isn't like the issue of the smell from a pig farm. Pig farm smell isn't illegal. The Caldwell's didn't assume the risk for being shot by being located near the range. That tactic was tried in the trial, the range opening in 1986, the Caldwell home built in 1990, and the Caldwells moving into the home in 1998. However, the jury didn't agree with the argument and made a decision based on GA law.

Quote:
“The range has been in operation since 1986 at least, the house was built in 1990 and the Caldwells bought it in 1998,” Teasley said. “No one from 1990-1998 had an issue. ... It kind of makes you wonder why someone would buy a house at the end of a gun range. It’s like buying a house near the airport and then complaining about the noise.”
http://www.times-georgian.com/news/l...a4bcf6878.html

The lawyer makes a similar argument of noise at an airport, but the the Caldwells were not complaining about the noise. It really isn't the same thing.

Based on Google Earth and using the timeline feature that shows images over time taken of the location to identify the particular residence, the Caldwell home is approximately 166 yards from the backstop of the 100 yard berm.

Certainly stupid to buy a home there, but being stupid didn't mean losing their rights.
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Last edited by Double Naught Spy; July 1, 2013 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Removing Google image
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Old July 1, 2013, 07:01 PM   #53
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattShlock
Actually, bullets leaving a range property are fine -- it is called "safety fan" design....
No, it is not fine if it means the bullets wind up on the property of someone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattShlock
...Then encroachment, people moving into previously expected-unlikely-to-be-populated areas where moderate range containment measures existed,...
Still the only way a range can expect to prevent that encroachment is to own the land. The operators of a shooting range have no basis upon which to expect that vacant land privately owned by someone else will remain vacant indefinitely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior
Quote:
Unless someone can testify that a range employee actually fired the bullet that hit the house, the range was merely the location where some invitee fired the round. Accordingly, if someone violated a law against firing across property lines, it's the individual shooter, not "the range."
Is there case law to support this?
Not to presume to speak for Spats, but I think he was specifically referring to a claim based on a trespass theory. Here's the whole exchange (emphasis added):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
While I wholeheartedly agree that fired rounds should never leave the range, from a legal liability perspective, "which came first" can matter very much. If the house was built after the range, the range and insurer could argue that the homeowner assumed the risk of stray bullets by building there with full knowlede of the range's existence.
Well which came first, the house or the bullets? As it is illegal in most states to fire across property lines without consent, that the range came first would not allow for justification of the house being shot. The range is liable because of conducting activities in an unsafe manner.
The question of whether the house was there before the bullets isn't relevant to the assumption of risk issue. It's something like building a house near a pig farm and then complaining about the smell.

Unless someone can testify that a range employee actually fired the bullet that hit the house, the range was merely the location where some invitee fired the round. Accordingly, if someone violated a law against firing across property lines, it's the individual shooter, not "the range."
On the other hand, a different analysis would be appropriate were a claim based on a theory of strict liability for a hazardous activity (see post 19 and the discussion of Rylands v. Fletcher).
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Old July 1, 2013, 07:11 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spats McGee
Unless someone can testify that a range employee actually fired the bullet that hit the house, the range was merely the location where some invitee fired the round. Accordingly, if someone violated a law against firing across property lines, it's the individual shooter, not "the range."
Is there case law to support this?
To be honest, I haven't had the opportunity to go looking. I was specifically responding to the trespass argument, but if suit were brought on negligence grounds, it's one of the defenses I'd raise if I were defending the range. Strict liability, OTOH, is a different beast.
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Old July 1, 2013, 09:19 PM   #55
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The trespass defense and the suggestion that the bullet holes were from hunters and other shooters not associated with the range was raised and discounted.

Also, the reason for the suit appears stated here...
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/socie...arby-gun-range

Quote:
When asking politely failed, the Caldwells fell back on a time-honored classic: a good ol’-fashioned lawsuit. The couple sued the gun range for making no attempts to protect them and their property from shooters’ bullets.
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Old July 3, 2013, 12:32 PM   #56
Willie D
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There was a range near me that had a documented problem with bullets leaving the range. They eventually installed barriers just above the trajectory of "on-target" bullets so that it is nearly impossible to shoot above the target backers, much less the berm, when seated at the bench.


My own range uses a similar setup. There are elevated wood barriers at 6and12' out filled with stones just above your sightlines at benches and off-hand positions. If I were 2" taller I'd be unable to shoot off hand but as-is it's not a problem. This range has a very large natural backstop but is near quite a lot of residential land and I think it was an added safety concession to the township.
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Old July 3, 2013, 08:09 PM   #57
Wild-Bill
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Did they inspect the trees between the range and the house. If 27 rounds hit the house, how many hit the trees ?
Looks like a trap shooting range on the other side of the pond ??
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Old July 3, 2013, 08:59 PM   #58
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by Wild-Bill
Did they inspect the trees between the range and the house. If 27 rounds hit the house, how many hit the trees ?
Looks like a trap shooting range on the other side of the pond ??
Let's not re-try the case. It's over, and the range was found liable.
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Old July 3, 2013, 09:56 PM   #59
Double Naught Spy
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Did they inspect the trees between the range and the house. If 27 rounds hit the house, how many hit the trees ?
Looks like a trap shooting range on the other side of the pond ??
If you watched the videos, then you say that the holes in the house were NOT from the trap range. The holes were not from birdshot.
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Old July 4, 2013, 07:58 AM   #60
oldgunsmith
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I've never been comfortable with the numbers of shooters who find ways to miss the backstop, no matter how high and wide it is. No big deal to them. Another one got away. So what?
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:22 AM   #61
wayneinFL
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There was a range near me that had a documented problem with bullets leaving the range. They eventually installed barriers just above the trajectory of "on-target" bullets so that it is nearly impossible to shoot above the target backers, much less the berm, when seated at the bench.
There's a private range on county land here. They added eyebrows, and added additional barriers underneath, on the ground, so rounds couldn't skip off the range floor. They also added barriers at the top of the berm so that rounds couldn't skip up the berm and go off the range.

Nowadays the only rounds that hit the nearby industrial park come from he adjacent Sheriff's range.
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Old July 4, 2013, 08:47 AM   #62
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by oldgunsmith
...No big deal to them. Another one got away. So what?
So property was damaged, someone could have been injured or killed, and in this case it cost the range $175,000 plus its legal fees.
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Old July 4, 2013, 02:54 PM   #63
SgtLumpy
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I would think that a city council or zoning commission or other municipal or county gov agency could be pretty leniant with their decisions. It's not a court of law. If the city council simply "thought" that the range was a danger to the nearby subdivision, they could probably force them to modify or shut down. No particular evidence or burdon of proof necessary.


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Old July 4, 2013, 09:26 PM   #64
Gbro
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There was a range near me that had a documented problem with bullets leaving the range. They eventually installed barriers just above the trajectory of "on-target" bullets so that it is nearly impossible to shoot above the target backers, much less the berm, when seated at the bench.


My own range uses a similar setup. There are elevated wood barriers at 6and12' out filled with stones just above your sightlines at benches and off-hand positions. If I were 2" taller I'd be unable to shoot off hand but as-is it's not a problem. This range has a very large natural backstop but is near quite a lot of residential land and I think it was an added safety concession to the township.
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This Forensic Files Episode "The Magic Bullet" (Was anything but magic) is all about bullets leaving a range and a young boy dies as a result.
What was brought out is the range was being used for shooting scenarios that it was not originally designed for and was retrofitted for defensive pistol use but not properly.
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Old July 4, 2013, 09:44 PM   #65
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Looking at the Google Maps satellite view, the first house downrange isn't really "down range" ... it's rather clearly off to the right of the line of fire. In fact, a bullet passing over either of the two berms wouldn't hit that house, it would have to travel further and would possibly hit a house farther away. If stray rounds were hitting that trailer house, people weren't even shooting at the targets, they were shooting well to the right of the entire berm structure.

And I am NOT going to say that couldn't happen, because I've seen what some people do at shooting ranges.
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:52 AM   #66
thallub
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Bullets had been hitting that residence for years. The owners refused to fix their firing range and got sued. The jury has spoken and the situation is resolved-for now.

There is this case from Texas:

http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/...181533811.html
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:06 AM   #67
Double Naught Spy
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Looking at the Google Maps satellite view, the first house downrange isn't really "down range" ... it's rather clearly off to the right of the line of fire. In fact, a bullet passing over either of the two berms wouldn't hit that house, it would have to travel further and would possibly hit a house farther away
Aguila Blanco, that is incorrect. You are probably only looking at the wrong house. The Caldwell home is 166 yards or so behind the 100 yard berm. They are the first driveway behind the range.

The north end of the 100 yard berm is in direct alignment between the shooting shed and the Caldwell's house. Check out the pics of the range from Advanced Bullets' website.

If you look carefully, you can see that the 50 yard range is also in between as well. From the far north shooting positions, so is part of the south end of the 25 yard range.

http://www.advancedbullets.com/ranges.htm
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Old July 5, 2013, 12:10 PM   #68
Uncle Buck
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If you have never fired on a range that is not closely monitored you would be in for a rude awakening.
Even some of the closely monitored ones can leave something to be desired.

Quote:
Military troops are well disciplined and well supervised in firing range operations. On most military ranges it matters not if a bullet sometimes goes over the berm because no one is allowed down range to the maximum range of the round being fired.
The qualification range at Whiteman AFB, MO is pretty much enclosed, except for the top. But if you look closely at the side walls yo will see bullet pock-marks and long scars where the bullets have been stopped by the wall.

Quote:
Recently a guy on one of the websites i visit recommend the use of a large round hay bale for a backstop.
NO! This is an extremely bad idea. I set up a round bale and put a target in front of it (Target held in place by a piece of plywood) and a 4x8 piece of plywood behind the round bale. My rifle bullets passed right through it. (I do not know if a pistol round would penetrate.)

I have would, stone and dirt as well as natural topography on my firing range.


The stories about people moving in to places and then complaining reminds me of an old church in Mystic CT. When I was a kid we would spend summers on a lake near there and a small church always range the bell on Sundays and Wednesdays. A big city lawyer moved in to town for the "Small town atmosphere" and then complained about the bell ringing. The church, which had been ringing the bell for at least 150 years, was ordered to stop.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:59 PM   #69
Double Naught Spy
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That is the funny thing about rights. Just because you were here first does not necessarily mean that you have more rights than I do as a newcomer to the area.

However, having bullets leave the property isn't the same thing as a noise issue with a church, is it? The Caldwells were not complaining about the noise from the range, right? They were complaining about a life threatening situation where bullets were illegally leaving the range's property and doing so repetitively and striking their home and causing property damage. They had complained with the range on numerous occasions and the range failed to correct the issue despite having YEARS of opportunity to do so The Caldwells sued as a form of last resort when they were not able to get relief through more direct channels.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:44 PM   #70
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I agree with you. Regardless of who was there first, if I found out I was damaging or allowing damage to occur to my neighbors property, we would cease fire and either find another place to shoot or fix the problems that led to the damage in the first place.
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