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Parker city council decided fate of contested gun range near residences

Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 08:35:53-04

PARKER, Colo. — It’s been more than a year since some Parker residents have fought to keep a proposed gun range out of their community. On Monday night, city council voted 5-2 to approve the gun range.

While some site planning is still needed, the gun range, called Back 40 Range, would be located on a 2.5-acre parcel in a new development at the intersection of South Chambers Road and Double Angel Road, across the street from the EchoPark Stadium.

Developer BCX Development previously said the gun range, which would be entirely indoors, would be about 25,000-square feet in size.

Some people against the plan said it’s too risky and too close to their community, while proponents argue because the area is zoned for commercial businesses and properly training people to use a gun helps with safety.

“I’m fine with a gun range. I’m not fine with the location,” said Parker resident Emily Suyat.

At a March 14 city meeting, the public had a chance to voice their support or concerns.

“I think it’s good for Parker. I think it’s good for our community and I think it provides something safer than what we have otherwise,” said Parker resident Chris.

Opponents, like Suyat, want it elsewhere because they worry about the proximity to neighborhoods, a church and a popular stadium for high school events.

“I can’t imagine being a kid and pulling up on that bus looking over, perhaps seeing someone pull a gun out of their car. They have no context for it. They don’t know if it’s a good guy, bad guy,” said Suyat.

Stockpiles of guns attracting thieves and the noise are worries too.

“The sound of hundreds or thousands of gunshots a day would significantly cause noise pollution,” said Parker resident Shannon Fitzgerald.

The most delicate of issues would be at least one nearby resident living with PTSD from a school shooting.

“Exposing people to unnecessary trauma, there’s no need for it. It’s entirely avoidable,” said Suyat.

But one supporter, a military vet, argued it would actually help his PTSD.

“Things I’d prefer to keep private. VA says I got it. Most military people find it very therapeutic to shoot, and we’ll appreciate this range,” said Gary.

People for it say, after all, the gun range is a local business deserving support.

“Provide us revenues, provide sales tax, employment opportunities,” said a Parker resident.

The owner of Back 40 Range, Rion Buswell provided the following statement to Denver7:

“We have worked diligently since the Open House that was held in February 2018 to address the neighborhood concerns voiced at that time, as well as subsequent issues raised with to the Town of Parker. In last month's Planning Commission (PC) meeting, the public comments were 2 to 1 in favor of the project. The PC then voted 5 to 1 in favor of the project. We believe this speaks to the work we have done to make this a safe, family-friendly environment which the public can feel comfortable with and use to learn about shooting sports.”

“A facility like this will provide training, provide education, practice which ensures much more safety within gun weaponry training,” said Parker resident Andrew Copeland.

The Parker city council votef on approving a Use by Special Review application Monday night. A spokesperson with the Town of Parker told Denver7, the business of selling guns doesn’t need council approval, but the range portion does.