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FBI Shooting Range
FBI SHOOTING RANGE
Success Story City Council turns down grant for the FBI Firearm Training Facility. Read about it here.
FBI firing range not worth the risk
Before I describe the risks versus the benefits of the proposed FBI Firearm Training Facility, some background is appropriate.
• The FTF is not a necessary facility for the Kerrville Police Department, it would be a “nice to have” facility. The KPD firearm training and practice is currently accomplished at Hill Country Shooting Sport Center at a cost of $3,000 per year. • The FBI in San Antonio has been searching for several years for a location for a FTF. Boerne was approached with the offer and turned it down. • The FBI funds ($1.3 million) would be used only for construction of the facility. City taxpayers would be responsible for the cost of operations, maintenance and any necessary modifications. (Sounds familiar to the current situation for the taxpayers having to complete the River Walk Pavilion — a “gift” to the city.) • The proposed 25-year contract between the city and the FBI would be for the city to operate the facility. If the facility is not “revenue neutral,” as required by the city council, the taxpayers would be responsible for the operations for 25 years. • A $2.5 plus million dollar state-of-the-art gun range is planned in San Antonio. • The FTF would be in operation seven days per week until 10 p.m. • According to real estate appraisers, values of nearby properties will decrease, thus adversely impacting property owners and tax revenue for the city and county. • According to an engineering company that has designed more than 30 gun ranges, “a completely safe range cannot be designed”; “a master plan by a professional designer is a must.” • The city awarded a $24,000 contract to LNV Engineering to provide a preliminary layout of the FTF, determine adequacy of the soil to support a building foundation, and establish a preliminary cost estimate. This will not provide sufficient details to adequately assess the costs and impact on the community of reduced safety and increased noise. The LNV Internet Web site does not reference any expertise or experience in designing gun ranges. • Safety and noise design criteria are not defined for the FTF. The construction and operations costs cannot be adequately assessed until they are defined. • Additional taxpayers’ funds will be required to define and plan the FTF in sufficient detail so that realistic costs and other impacts can be determined.
Risks: • Annoying and objectionable noises for surrounding areas. • Reduced real estate values and tax revenue. • Possible injury or death because of stray bullets. • Increase in city expenses for 25 years for FTF operations, modifications and improvements. • Decrease in revenue for HCSSC, a local not-for-profit concern, due to competition from a city gun range. • Degrade the image of the city as a quiet and serene place to live. • Degrade the image of the city by taking federal funds for a facility that is not necessary and thus adding to the U.S. deficit.
Benefits: • Construction work. • A “nice to have” facility for the KPD. • Perhaps increased revenue for the city.
The FBI gun range is not worth the risks.
J.W. Smith, Kerrville
KCC would like to thank Mr. Smith for allowing us to publish his letter to the editor which was originally published in the Kerrville Daily Times. Read it here.