Randolph County gun range too loud for neighbors

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- The Carolina Guns and Gear range and training center has become extremely successful. The 50-yard range in Randolph County is optimal for shooting high caliber guns.

"There's not too many facilities that are that well equipped on the entire East Coast," said Carolina Guns and Gear Co-Owner Steve Denny.

But the range's neighbors say the noise from the range has gotten to be too much.

"It'd scare you to death every now and then. Like now you don't hear it, but all of a sudden there would be a giant bang," said Fred Ramos, who lives on the other side of the range.

Ramos has lived there for 26 years and says the 40 foot berms that surround the range aren't doing enough to stifle the noise.

"I kind of like to have family over, maybe have a barbecue, you know grandchildren, kids, you can't do that, not with all that firing and stuff because it scares them," Ramos said.

Ramos and his neighbors brought their concerns to the county.

"When it was just a pistol range we didn't really receive any complaints," said Jay Dale, county planning director.

Dale says as the range has expanded over the last two years they have built into Randolph County jurisdiction.

According to Dale, only a private nonprofit club can operate in that area, which is zoned as residential-agricultural.

"We're a little curious as to how this is a private club and exactly how the nonprofit status works," Dale said.

The county sent the range a notice of violation in August and now the county attorney is speaking with the attorney for Carolina Guns and Gear.

Denny says he understands why the neighbors are concerned about the noise and is willing to hear any suggestions on how to fix the problem.

"Let's work together to figure out the best way to keep this extremely valuable resource to a very large shooting sports community and our neighbors," Denny said.

Ramos told us he is for the Second Amendment and knows the range provides a service to the community, but listening to the gunfire has just become too much.

"This is not what you dream of, this is not what you go to bed at night thinking you're going to have," Ramos said.

Dale says if the gun range wants to operate as it is now, the land should be rezoned for that kind of activity. He plans to recommend the rezoning at the next commissioners meeting on Dec. 5.