New shooting center faces legal action

By: 

News Reporter

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Neighboring families have filed suit against County Line Shooting Center over safety concerns.

The future of the County Line Shooting Center may be up in the air after several neighboring residents gathered to file a lawsuit against the range’s owners.  

The Schneider and Torres families previously filed a restraining order against Dean Murphy, the owner of the shooting range, on the morning of Nov. 26, 2013 due to safety concerns over stray bullets. Hays County Visiting Judge Brenda Chapman decided the two neighboring families seeking legal action against the range would need to wait for the range to open before they could pursue a lawsuit. After the range opened Dec. 28, 2013, the two families went forward with filing the lawsuit against the owners of the range.

Deposition in the case occurred Wednesday, and there have since been no further actions carried out by either party.

Lisa Murphy, co-owner of the range with her husband Dean Murphy, only wished to comment via Facebook message. She said no incident occurred at the range to trigger the lawsuit.

“There was not anything that precipitated the lawsuit other than us opening,” Lisa Murphy said in the Facebook message.

The shooting range, located between Comal and Hays counties, was originally expected to open in November, but was pushed back to December because of delayed permits, said Charles Cotton, a lawyer for the
Murphy family.

Charles Soechting, a lawyer for the Schneider and Torres families, believes the range was built in an unprofessional manner and never should be opened.

“The evidence has shown that this young couple decided to build a shooting range without having any type of professional training or assistance in designing it, locating it or anything,” Soechting said.
The Schneider family, who lives south of the range, worries about stray bullets, Soechting said.

“Our client, Mr. Schneider, has already heard a bullet go overhead during a period of rapid fire,” Soechting said.

The lawsuit was filed because the shooting range is not safe and that is reason enough to shut it down, Soechting said.

“This has nothing to do with the second amendment or property rights,” Soechting said. “This deals with the safety of operating a gun range.”

John McGlothlin, lawyer for the Murphy family, said his clients have built a safe shooting range and see no harm with it.

“My clients believe that they’ve designed, built and are operating a safe gun range, and they believe the law allows safe gun ranges to operate,” McGlothlin said.

Some may think the lawsuit was filed due to noise levels at the range since the bullets can be heard from nearby properties, Soetching said. However, Soetching said the case is strictly about the safety of the neighboring families.

“The noise doesn’t bother the Texas Legislature. What bothers them is if anybody gets hurt,” Soechting said. “And our experts say that it’s not a question of if somebody will get hurt,
but when.”

McGlothlin said the Murphy family was “doing nothing wrong” and followed all the regulations of opening the range. No harm has been reported in connection with the range since its late December opening.

“You can’t have a remedy until anything’s harmed,” McGlothlin said.

The decision is slow and dependent on the court, McGlothlin said. He said he believes more details will become apparent once the legal process continues.

“It’s a process,” McGlothlin said. “We had depositions in the case today (Jan. 15), and I anticipate there’s going to be more discovered as we go forward.”

McGlothlin said it is hard to find middle ground since both sides will not budge regarding their views on the issue.