Shooting range gains approval

Published 7:40 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

WINDSOR – County leaders gave preliminary approval to a new shooting range here Monday night.

During the regular meeting of the Bertie County Board of Commissioner, tentative approval was given for a lease of county property on U.S. 13 by the Tri-County Shooting Range and Gun Club Inc.

The group will construct a shooting range on the property which will be available to any club member as well as local law enforcement officers.

Roz Daly spoke on behalf of the group, asking for a long-term lease for the property.

“The county has a piece of property on the west side of U.S. 13 North at the radio tower near the turn off to Askewville,” he said. “Dirt has been dumped there for a while and it would make an excellent place for a shooting range.”

Daly said the facility would not be open to the general public except through membership in the club, which is open to anyone who can demonstrate proper use of a gun and willingness to follow membership guidelines.

The club would, however, make the facility open for the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and the Windsor Police Department.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry asked, “Tri-County means there are three counties. What are they?”

He was told the club included people from Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties.

Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. recognized Bertie County Sheriff John Holley who spoke in favor of the range.

“One thing about the range we have now is that it is kind of old and worn out,” Sheriff Holley said. “To qualify with a rifle, you have to have 100 yards and the best we can do is about 50 yards.

“If it could work out, it would be a great idea and would be beneficial for the sheriff’s office,” he said. “Right now we have to go somewhere else to qualify with a rifle.”

Cherry asked if the lease were to go forward who would have access to the facility.

Club President Donnis Perry said it would be open to whoever met the open membership requirements and whoever else the county designated, such as the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office or other law enforcement.

“You don’t want someone who doesn’t know which end the bullet comes out of out there shooting,” Perry said. “Other than that, we would want as many members as would be possible for those who are interested.”

Commissioner Rick Harrell said if the county leased the property it would ask for no liability which would mean they would not control who went in and went out of the facility.

Club members said they realized that was true, but would be willing to listen to the county’s input as to who they would want to have access.

“If no one opposes, then I would like to instruct the manager and attorney to move forward with the lease agreement,” Cherry said.

Harrell said he believed the lease should be at no fee or only a nominal fee.

Daly asked if the lease could long term because of the amount of money that would be invested there by the club and commissioners agreed in principal.

Sheriff Holley suggested the club work with the church located on adjacent property to make sure there was no disruption with services held there.

“I would suggest there be contact with the church to see what is happening there so there was not an interruption of church services,” Sheriff Holley said.

Club members agreed with the idea.

Bertie County Chief Deputy Greg Atkins, who offers instruction for gun owners, also supported the idea.

“I had the dirt moved there at no cost to the county to provide for something like this,” he said. “What we have now is not good. It is on borrowed time. I think it would be helpful if we were to move forward.”

Commissioners directed Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb and County Attorney Lloyd Smith to come up with a lease for the property.