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Murrieta Moves Toward Allowing Shooting Ranges

Murrieta City Council gives consensus to move forward on changing the city's code to allow indoor firing ranges. A series of public hearings would need to be held, however, and a final vote taken.

With the city already selected as the location for a proposed indoor shooting range, Murrieta City Council agreed to move forward with a possible amendment to city code that would allow such businesses.

Council members gave their consensus for city staff to begin studying the issue following a public workshop held Tuesday night at City Hall.

The amendment was first proposed by Councilman Harry Ramos shortly after he took office, and not long after . Ramos contends his push for change is directly related to gun safety.

"If that mom would have followed gun safety protocol, Newtown would not have happened," Ramos told Patch after the workshop, referring to reports indicating that alleged Newtown shooter Adam Lanza had access to guns stored in his home that were not registered to him.

Ramos related gun safety training—which he said would occur by allowing this type of venue in the city—to that of obtaining a driver's license.

"If you don't want to have a gun in your house, that is your right, but who would not want this type of training (for gun owners)?" Ramos said.

While several public speakers expressed support for allowing indoor firing ranges in the city—including the operators of Slingin' Lead, which hopes to open in Murrieta in early 2014—one woman spoke in opposition.

"...It would bring more criminal activity to our streets...," said resident Marilyn Hahn. "Please, we don’t want to be Aurora, Littleton, Newtown or Tucson...I can’t imagine people flocking to our city saying 'oh, Murrieta has a shooting range, let’s move there'...Where is the benefit to our city? Murrieta is a safe city...In my opinion, they do not belong in the Gem of the Valley."

Many who spoke in favor of the city amendment said the nearest range is in Rainbow but that it is outdoors and requires being on a waiting list to become a member. Other residents said they are tired of traveling to Oceanside or Riverside, where the other closest ranges are located.

Registered gun owner Steve Ryba said he has been a resident of Murrieta for 15 years, and that he and others are very excited at the prospect of spending their money locally to do recreational shooting.

"I am very in favor of it," Ryba said.

Resident Douglas Gibbs said he agreed a gun range would attract more guns, "but by law-abiding gun owners...and that makes for a safe community."

"Criminals don’t like to meet gun opposition," Gibbs said. "They like their victims to be unarmed. That is why (places with) gun-free zone laws have high crime rates."

Another resident said the fear of gun ranges is a "rational fear," but explained that when he became a father he took it upon himself to become a registered gun owner.

"I never considered owning a gun until I saw the sonogram for my first child and it was going to be a daughter," said Joel Barrett. "...I respect others who make different decisions but I would ask them to respect my decision...Gun ranges are about safety...The city of Murrieta should make whatever change is necessary to support the application by facilities that want to have an indoor shooting range."

As part of the public discussion, City Council quizzed staff on how many inquiries the city has had from potential applicants hoping to open ranges in the city, as well as what the cost and time frame would be to amend current city code.

City Planner Cynthia Kinser said she has received two inquiries in the past year. It would take four months and cost about $4,000 in staff time and public noticing to make the change, Kinser said.

Public hearings would need to be held, she said, and concerns to be addressed would include air quality, hazardous waste and noise, among others.

Additionally, she said city planners are currently working on updating the city's housing and general plans, which include amendments and affect a number of waiting business applicants. Kinser gave a time frame of four months before changing the code to allow firing ranges would be feasible.

City Council agreed staff's current projects should take priority.

"...Not because I don’t agree with it, I might even use it," said Councilman Alan Long. "..(But) there are new office park (applicants) waiting for new standards, who have been waiting for some time..."

Still, Council members were intrigued to hear the level of interest from those who turned out for the discussion.

"We had no idea if the interest—if it was real or not—was in the city," said Councilwoman Kelly Bennett.

Speaking on behalf of Slingin' Lead, Savannah Pfautz said they have been working "very diligently and very hard" toward their intention of opening a 25,000-square-foot indoor range in Murrieta in early 2014. They have already secured a group of investors, according to Pfautz, but would need to construct the facility.

The range would offer safety courses for beginning to avid gun users, Pfautz said. Members would need to be registered gun owners and would be required to undergo background checks.

"...In our facility we will not allow criminals...," Pfautz said. "It is a place for law-abiding citizens to practice their skills and a place for them to practice at safely...The research we have done (has shown it is) something that is needed in the area and wanted in the area."

Mayor Rick Gibbs said consensus has been given and that it would now be up to city staff and the applicant if things were to move quicker.

Lynn farmer February 20, 2013 at 05:43 PM
The comment about bad people with guns moving to Murrieta because of a shooting range is ludicrous. Criminals can't be legal gun owners. Requiring the range to verify legal ownership of a person's gun(s) should be a requirement to use the range. Based on the popularity of The Shootist gun shop in Murrieta I'm sure there are thousands of legal gun owners in the area who would love to see this business come to town. I wouldn't be surprised to see the need for more than one range. Why continue to give our business to Riverside and Oceanside to use their indoor ranges. This needs to happen. Well trained and responsible gun owners are far safer than those who buy and never practice.
JHL February 20, 2013 at 05:54 PM
The gunman (kid) from Newton went to Shooting Ranges all the time with his mom.
LBV Collins February 20, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Couldn't have said it any better, GDF.
LBV Collins February 20, 2013 at 07:47 PM
True... a horrifically fatal choice by Adam Lanza's mom. I imagine that most experts would agree that teaching any child with a neurological or psychological disorder how to become a proficient killing machine is probably not a good idea. And then providing that child with easy access to assault weapons? Again, not a good idea.
SA February 20, 2013 at 08:01 PM
What does that have to do with anything as his mother also knew he was crazy and did nothing about it.
mike smith February 20, 2013 at 08:08 PM
@Jessica - The fact that that (kid) went to the range has nothing to do with the shooting. The fact that the weapons were unsecured, and the child was mentality challenged has everything to do with it. Bring on the range, i look foward to becoming a regular at the facility.
N1smo2go February 20, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I have a wife,a son and a teenage daughter and I take her to the range with me in Riverside. Reason being because I leave her home by herself sometimes. Even though we live in a newer development in Murrieta, there is no place 100 percent safe. I recently added Life360 app to her cell phone which shows her location at all times. It also shows where all the registered child predators are in the are. Everyone that has a child should get it. I have counter measures set up at home in case of an intruder and she had been trained for two years on areas in the home where she can get to one of our PDW's in less than 6 seconds. If I am not home, and an intruder breaks in, they are the last line of defense before the 5 minute or more response from the police. Instead of going to Riverside, I can go 10 minutes to the house and continue their training, spending my income on less gas use, spend it in Murrieta and be that much closer to home.
Gludenwald February 20, 2013 at 08:46 PM
he also consumed dihydrogen monoxide, so clearly we should ban that >>
Jennifer McCaughey February 20, 2013 at 11:45 PM
I'm in favor of it! It's safe, it's legal and it's fun under these circumstances. I really hope this will be approved and we get one here.
V.W.D.S. February 21, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Last I checked we are still Constitutionally allowed to own guns. We go through background checks and waiting periods to obtain our guns. It makes more sense to offer ranges where law abiding citizen's can practice this right and learn the proper use of their gun. It makes no sense at all to suggest that an indoor shooting range would attract the types of gun owners that willfully commit crimes including homicide. You cannot control people and those that are 'rampaging' are ill. It seems to me a better concern would be to identify these young men (yes, mass shooters all appear to be young men under thirty) and target mental health care. People need to wake up to what is really going on. If you were to complete a study , you would most likely find that the common denominator is violent movies and video games. I still consider the incident in Newtown shootings as a freak situation. Normal gun owners don't fantasize about killing children. BTW - if you follow the logic that a shooting range would advance killing, then you might as well take away driving schools and prohibit cars.
V.W.D.S. February 21, 2013 at 12:11 AM
People might actually drive and could possibly get reckless and kill someone. Ban all autos! Force the masses to take public transportation! Funny thing is - NO WHERE in the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA does it guarantee or protect your right to own a vehicle! As a matter of fact, it is not even a right, but a privelidge. Yet, millions of people die of vehicular manslaughter each year! Its criminal! Very uninformed and misguided media following ignorant folks forget that owning a gun is a Constitutional RIGHT! We still have laws that define legal ownership and it is not the legal gun owners shooting people up.
Mike February 21, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Now let's get the concealed carry process loosened up so you can legally carry. Right now the only ones who can carry are cops and criminals who don't care about laws.
Mike February 21, 2013 at 01:23 AM
This law abiding mother's son was a total loser, he wanted to one up the guy in Norway and "took on" a school full of kids- impressive. This kid locked himself in his gaming dungeon playing shooter games and his mom helped him hone his real life shooting skills buy LEGALLY purchasing some really nice assault weapons and handguns and even taking to the range to practice. My guns that are useless for home defense because they are locked in safes and the ammo is not near them. Yes, they can get stolen but the odds of that are slim. The odds of me needing them for home defense are even slimmer. Gun owners really do need to keep their equipment locked up so they can't end up in the hands of criminals. I don't want an inventory of my arms sent to the government, there are family heirlooms that I would not want going to the smelter when the decision is made to save everyone by getting rid of them.
LBV Collins February 21, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Hi N1smo2go. What's a "PDW"?
LBV Collins February 21, 2013 at 03:18 AM
Hi Shane. I keep my firearm locked away in a gun safe. If an intruder suddenly bursts into my home, odds are neither of us will get to my weapon. I agree that background checks FOR ALL SALES is absolutely necessary. Any loopholes that allow the transfer or sale of firearms without background checks must be closed... especially at gun shows. I'm also in favor of limiting the size of magazines.
kristin c February 21, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Cali is too liberal... I doubt well ever be able to conceal and carry here.
AnnieB February 21, 2013 at 05:18 AM
True. However, the 911 terrorist attackers used box cutters and planes to kill innocents. Are those being banned? If someone wants to kill people, they will find a way. Hammers, knives, machetes, explosives, etc. I'm not starting the whole "lets not ban guns debate" bc that one is beyond exhausted. I'm just saying that to "blame" the shooting range for that crazy kids murderous rampage.....not feasible. Now.....violent video games.........possibly. But once again, to take away one persons rights all in the name of "public safety". Where does it end?
AnnieB February 21, 2013 at 05:21 AM
Shane....I was wondering how long it would take you to sniff out this conversation. Here we go on the crazy train....................
Alek J Hidell February 21, 2013 at 03:03 PM
The very reason Murrieta is so much safer than Hemet or San Jacinto or Moreno Valley is because it is filled with law-abiding gun owners, many of them military and police. They already are experts and need no further training..THAT'S what scares the thugs... Ramos is just figuring out a new scam to raise money (for gun training classes). It's all about the money.. It always is...
V.W.D.S. February 21, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Another case in point - young twenty something male on drugs shooting up the cops: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/20/deputy-injured-encinitas-sheriffs/ the problem is NOT the guns, its the mental instability of so many of these young males. I doubt the gun was legal. People need to quit blaming guns and start accepting that there are whackos out there that will kill regardless of the weapon. And Shane - perhaps judge Scalia has an opinion, but as to what he based his opinion on, goodness knows. The 2nd Amendment makes it very clear "shall not be infringed upon' currently all this legislation is actually UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
V.W.D.S. February 21, 2013 at 04:18 PM
The mistaken concept of the 2nd Amendment is that we are allowed guns for hunting and self protection. Actually that is mistaken for the 2nd Amendment makes it very clear that we are allowed to keep and bear arms in order to keep our Government from turning against us. In that case - the type of gun is not relative, nor are these so called 'restrictions' however, out of neccessity it is tolerated that we create gun ownership checks and balances, but it crosses a line when it starts 'infringing' upon ones right to own. It is so clear it is stupid we even have to defend it. Go back and study history and how and why our great nation was even created. There is a total disconnect from history and our nations beginnings. Your comments just prove to me that you are completely uninformed as to our Constitutional Rights and WHY they even were created.
SA February 21, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Shane once again you are WRONG. If a Californian owned an “automatic weapon” prior to June 1989 you can still possess said weapon today; however it has to be registered with the DOJ. The Federal Government is attacking CA’s gun laws, just like they are attacking AZ’s. It is complete BS, they need to leave us alone i.e. allows us to have sanctioned shooting ranges and our firearms. Why is it that government officials are protected by guns and use shooting ranges to keep their skills up, and schools are gun free zones. Every teacher in Murrieta should have access to a firing rage so they too can keep their skills up and protect our children.
LBV Collins February 21, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Good morning, Dave. As I understand, the "Gun Show Loophole" refers to the sale of firearms between private parties. I believe you are correct that licensed dealers... even at gun shows... are required to have purchasers go through a background check. But that requirement only applies to licensed dealers. I also understand that there are several states that have closed this loophole and now require purchasers of firearms from a private party to register the firearm. California is one of those states. The percentages I've heard tossed around are that only 60% of guns are purchased from licensed dealers. That means that 40% of transactions are between private parties, and therefore are not registered. This includes transactions at gun shows, through classified newspaper ads, the Internet, and between individuals. I disagree with you on the issue of registering firearms. I think all firearms should be registered.
LBV Collins February 21, 2013 at 07:27 PM
"But in regards to registration, I guess we can just politely agree to disagree." Cheerfully agreed, Dave. ;)
LBV Collins February 21, 2013 at 07:51 PM
"And Shane - perhaps judge Scalia has an opinion, but as to what he based his opinion on, goodness knows." Hi V.W.D.S. You can read about what Scalia based his opinion on here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller I think it's important to note that Scalia pointed out that, "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose... Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those 'in common use at the time' finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons." [Scalia was referencing "United States v. Miller".] The Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal government and the States have the right to regulate gun ownership and to restrict citizens from possessing "dangerous and unusual weapons." It is unconstitutional, however, for the government to outright ban all firearms that are in common use. The Court also held that "The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." BTW: Justice Scalia is considered a conservative, and tends to interpret law the way conservatives interpret law. (He's a friend of the Tea Party, if you will.)
Fauntleroy Murphy February 21, 2013 at 09:58 PM
It’s called entrepreneurship, and it’s a game of risk/reward. Of course you want to make money when you open a business. When did opening a business become a scam? Obviously you are so intelligent I can't follow your logic!
Rich February 23, 2013 at 07:19 PM
The Murrieta City council is not debating the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That is not in question here. This argument centers on whether the citizens of Murrieta want to bring more guns to our community in the form of the “Slinging Lead” indoor shooting range. And there should be no argument that is exactly what will happen. More guns will be coming to Murrieta from surrounding communities such as Hemet, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Temecula and other nearby communities that do not have such a facility. They won’t necessarily be moving here but you can count on the fact that they will come to our city to use the shooting range and they will be bringing their guns with them. That’s a fact. At Tuesday’s city council meeting Savannah Faust, the spokesperson for Slinging Lead would have us all believe that her family’s Indoor shooting range will not allow criminals to shoot at their facility. While I do not doubt the sincerity of Ms Faust’s comments, the naivety of her message was striking. I would submit the following list of names and request the proposed proprietors of Slinging Lead inform the Murrieta community exactly how they would prevent the following individuals from coming to our city and using their facility for shooting practice? • Christopher Dorner • Ali Syed • Dayle William Long • Stephanie Lazarus • Scott Dekraai • Eddie Ray Routh • Nancy & Adam Lanza
Rich February 23, 2013 at 07:23 PM
You all know that is just a small sampling. There are 3 law enforcement officers on that list, and I’m assuming they would be welcome at the range. Ali Syed, who just shot up Orange County had no criminal record. Scott Dekraai, murdered 8 people including Murrieta resident Randy Lee Fannin at the Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach in 2011, at one time had a restraining order that prevented him from possessing firearms legally. But that order expired a year before the mass shooting in Seal Beach so I assume he would have also been welcome at the proposed shooting range in Murrieta. I’m guessing no explanation is needed for Adam & Nancy Lanza who were frequent visitors to the local shooting range near Newtown. And Eddie Ray Routh, himself a veteran of the Iraq war, murdered famed American Sniper and former Navy Seal Chris Kyle … At a Shooting Range! What I’m saying is Murrieta is currently the safest city in Riverside County and in 2009 Murrieta was listed as the second safest city (over 100,000 in population) in the United States. That’s right now WITHOUT an indoor shooting range in our city. The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and that’s what I propose our city council do in the case of the indoor shooting range. We already have one of the safest communities in America and we don’t need more guns to make us safer.
Mike February 26, 2013 at 01:53 AM
After trying to find a place to shoot legally, I stopped by the Rainbow shooting range only to find out there is a waiting list. My son and I trekked 40 miles out to the closest BLM land near Warner Springs to pop off some rounds. It was fun and all but at this point I realized that there is a legitimate need to open a range somewhere closer. It would be nice if the city would allow this to happen and bring in the tax revenue, I don't think a bunch of crazies would suddenly arrive in town to shoot the place up. Shooting guns is actually a skill, and can be a lot of fun for those who enjoy this kind of thing.
LBV Collins February 26, 2013 at 02:20 AM
"It would be nice if the city would allow this to happen and bring in the tax revenue, I don't think a bunch of crazies would suddenly arrive in town to shoot the place up. Shooting guns is actually a skill, and can be a lot of fun for those who enjoy this kind of thing." I couldn't agree more, Mike.

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