The construction of a new gun range on the Hays and Comal county line is set for completion next month, but is receiving mixed feelings from community members.
The County Line Shooting Center, located on Old Bastrop Highway, broke ground on construction July 1 and will open in mid-November. The shooting center is still not open because of ongoing construction, unreceived permits and hiring of staff, but some families who live near the range say they are upset about its location. Others in the community are excited for the convenience of the new range.
Sheliah Schneider, a resident who owns a home near the shooting center, is concerned the gun range will negatively impact the value of her land.
“I worry about the property value of my home,” Schneider said. “A bullet will travel over five miles, and my home sits about a half a mile from where that gun range is.”
Dean Murphy, owner and operations manager for the County Line Shooting Center, said guns with longer bullet trajectories are not allowed on the range.
“The smallest caliber gun (bullets) can travel one mile unimpeded,” Murphy said. “The larger ones can go up to three miles, and there are two guns that can travel up to five miles, but we’re not allowing those at the range.”
The house with closest proximity to the shooting center is just under a half mile away, but the dirt built up around the range to help prevent stay bullets meets state requirements, Murphy said. His wife Lisa Murphy said safety is stressed on the range, and they make sure the minimum state requirements are exceeded.
“The back berm has to be 20 feet, and ours is 22 feet,” she said. “The side berms have to be 8 feet and ours are 9 feet.”
A range safety officer will be on site for each shooting course. Officers are not required to be present for the courses by the state, but the Murphys said they are taking the additional precaution to ensure the safety of their family and the nearby residents.
“We started this (range) for our two sons who are in 4-H and scouts,” Dean Murphy said. “We just want to give back to the community.”
The range will eventually offer free firearm safety classes to those interested in increasing gun education in the area, the Murphys said. The usual hours of operations at the shooting center will be from 10 a.m. until “dusk,” they said.
Lisa Murphy said the earliest time shooting will occur is 8 a.m. during competitions, and there will never be shooting allowed when it is dark outside.
Despite concerns from some residents, the range has received positive publicity, the Murphys said.
“It hasn’t been all bad,” Dean Murphy said. “Everyone else has been extremely supportive and encouraging.”
Texas State student Alejandro Jaramillo, general studies junior and ex-military personnel, said he sympathizes with concerns from some community members, but will use the range when it opens.
“I can see how it’s a problem for civilians in the area,” Jaramillo said. “I personally wouldn’t have a problem with stray bullets or the noise.”