Lawsuit Filed Over Shooting Range

Lawsuit Filed Over Shooting Range

This is a discussion on Lawsuit Filed Over Shooting Range within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; If this goes forward, it should be good test of Montana's Shooting Range Protection Act. Neighbors challenge noise from shooting range Published: Friday, November 7, ...

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Thread: Lawsuit Filed Over Shooting Range

  1. #1
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    Lawsuit Filed Over Shooting Range

    If this goes forward, it should be good test of Montana's Shooting Range Protection Act.

    Neighbors challenge noise from shooting range
    Published: Friday, November 7, 2008
    Judge considers motion to dismiss legal action

    By LYNNETTE HINTZE/Daily Inter Lake

    Flathead District Judge Ted Lympus will decide whether to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a group of neighbors west of Whitefish against the owner of a shooting range.

    Tally Bissell Neighbors Inc. sued Texas businessman Robert Hayes in February, alleging the loud shotgun blasts emanating from the shooting range are a public nuisance and violation of constitutional guarantees.

    Hayes initiated construction of the private, noncommercial shooting range, which now is owned by Eyrie Shotgun Ranch, a limited liability corporation.

    Hayes' lawyer, Sean Frampton, asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit and on Wednesday, Frampton made his case for dismissal, while Eric Kaplan, the neighbors' attorney, argued to allow the lawsuit to move forward. Lympus took the motion to dismiss under advisement.

    The lawsuit alleges the noise from the shooting range has prevented the sale of surrounding properties, startled animals and people, interfered with and prevented the carrying on of businesses in the area and prevented the neighborhood from being enjoyed.

    Frampton pointed to a policy in state law that promotes the safety and enjoyment of shooting sports by protecting the locations of and investment in shooting ranges for shotgun, archery, rifle and pistol shooting. He cited another state policy that says if shooting ranges are used during posted hours, they don't constitute a public nuisance.

    Prior to construction of the shooting range, Hayes told neighbors that he and his friends intended to use the facility about two hours a day, seven days a week, from June through October.

    Frampton further argued that allegations of a private nuisance by two sets of neighbors -- John and Susan Klassen and Rob and Wendi Rice -- shouldn't be considered because under Montana law there's no authority for both public and private nuisances to co-exist.

    The Klassens for 17 years have leased their property to Triple "D" Game Farm, which supplies animals for photography on the Klassen property. They allege shooting-range activities have obstructed the use of their property for that purpose.

    The Rices operate a recording studio in their home and maintain the shotgun noise likewise has affected their business.

    The lawsuit also alleges the shooting range poses an "attractive" nuisance because it's 1,900 feet from Bissell School.

    "The shooting range is an artificial condition ... in a place where defendants know or should know that children are likely to trespass," the complaint states.

    But Frampton said there's also no standing for that allegation because it alleges only anticipated danger, not that any children have been affected by the shooting range.

    The neighbors believe Hayes and the Eyrie Shotgun Ranch are liable for trespass because they intentionally cause sounds to enter the neighbors' land. Frampton argued against this allegation, too, saying there's nothing in state law to support it.

    If sound is a "thing" that can trespass, then "everyone in Whitefish would sue the railroad every time they heard the trains passing through."

    Kaplan said questions of policy and legislative intent aren't relevant to the motion to dismiss the case.

    "The court cannot engage in fact-finding" in a motion to dismiss, Kaplan maintained. "Now is not the time to consider statutes that grant immunity, policies" and so on.

    Kaplan said after the court hearing that he's confident the judge will rule to continue the case. If not, Kaplan said he could "massage" the complaint and refile the lawsuit or appeal the decision.

    After the shooting range was proposed in early 2007, neighbors banded together to create a neighborhood plan for the Tally Lake and Farm to Market Road area. The plan was approved by the county commissioners and established SAG-10 zoning in the 980-acre district, with a 10-acre minimum lot size.


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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Not sure where my loyalties lie on this one. I hate to see any range go down, but if the residents were there first, I think they have cause.

    OTOH, nothing ticks me off more than people who build or buy homes near an airport or range or farm, then complain about noise/odors and try to get those things closed down.
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    This could turn out badly for the range owner. I live in the county, and there are no 'noise ordinances' per se. Even though the plaintiffs don't have much to stand on here, their attorney will more than likely re-file even if they get shot down on the wording the first time. Something like this might have a chance on going to a higher court also depending. I can't help but wonder what the plaintiffs ultimately seek.........monetary damages, or just simply closing the range? Sounds to me like they seek some form of compensation if they can prove business was lost due to the existence and noise of the range. Where does one have to go to shoot nowadays?

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    I'm extremely pro-gun but, I must admit that I would not take too kindly to having a shooting range as a neighbor. When I'm personally not making noise - I like it quiet.
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    Normally I'd be all for the range, but it sounds as if they put up the range after all the other residents were there...I'm not so sure I agree with that, although it is their property to do with as they wish. Maybe they can come up with an amicable solution with the neighbors, like only using the range during certain time frames or something.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

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    Possible to build sound retaining walls like they use on a highway/freeway. So the sound travels up and not out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I'm extremely pro-gun but, I must admit that I would not take too kindly to having a shooting range as a neighbor. When I'm personally not making noise - I like it quiet.
    Run that by us again, you can make noise; but, only you?

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    One owns a recording studio?
    Now specializing in Country & Western songs...

    Children are likely to tresspass?
    Not for long...

    Yrs, I would be unhappy too if someone started up a firing range next door.

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    Mixed feelings on this. I can see where the noise could be annoying and some sort of noise reduction system needed. On the other hand, this is evidently not a area that is zoned residential. One individual is running a recording studio from their home, someone else is running a game farm.

    Maybe the guy can move the shooting range to another location and open up a drag strip on the property!
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    The thing about shooting firearms is that two things come out of a gun: bullets, and noise. So long as both stay within the confines of a property (ie, an indoor range, or a 40 sq. mi. range, then there's no issue. This lawsuit has a simple point, that the sound is intruding on others. Yes, in fact it is. The wrangling won't occur over the fact of the sound escaping the property, or shouldn't. It should simply occur over whether it's intrusive, and what (if anything) to do about it.

    Reality is, if a family with children moves in beside me, those kids are going to run around the neighborhood. From time to time, I'm going to hear them. Their Frisbees and stones may not fly into my property, but their noise would, on occasion. The only question would be: how much is too much, given reasonable and legal use of one's property?

    I, too, wouldn't take kindly to intrusive noises at all hours. I'd work hard to shut down whatever that was, if that "whatever" came into the neighborhood long after all of us and caused the gross disruption. But occasional and reasonable noises? This is the 21st Century. And backwoods Texas, Montana and elsewhere ain't what it used to be. At some point, up to a given decibel level, we've got to live together.

    Wondering: Is the plaintiff originally from Los Angeles?
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    Hayes told neighbors that he and his friends intended to use the facility about two hours a day, seven days a week, from June through October.
    Is it really a nuisance? Heck, I live near Quantico Marine Corps Base...and hear big guns, arty, EOD detonations all the time (rattles the windows)...I just wish I was invited.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    Is it really a nuisance?
    Right. The mere fact sound can be heard does not equate to "nuisance."
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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  13. #13
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    Before my county had a noise ordinance northern transplants started moving in and complaining about the noises from the farms and peoples private ranges. So the county enacted a noise ordinance specifically exempting all properties zoned agricultural and all lawful discharges of firearms to include hunting and shooting ranges.

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    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    QUOTE FROM THE ARTICLE


    "Prior to construction of the shooting range, Hayes told neighbors that he and his friends intended to use the facility about two hours a day, seven days a week, from June through October."



    personally, I don't see this as unreasonable! But, I'm from backwoods Texas.


    surv

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    Notice that smiling icon? ~~~> - My comment was meant to give you folks a chuckle.

    Quote Originally Posted by nn View Post
    Run that by us again, you can make noise; but, only you?
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