Noonday gun range faces law suit

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) -- A controversial gun range near Noonday could become a much bigger source of tax revenue next year, assuming it survives a new lawsuit brought by Smith County.

Neighbors around the High Noon Shooting Range have been complaining to the county for months. The Smith County Tax Assessor's office tells CBS 19 the range's tax status is under review as part of a larger look at property values in that area.

The land could be considered "commercial" for 2012, which brings a higher tax bill if they want to stay in business. But a bigger bill will not satisfy the people next door.

"It was a very quiet, serene neighborhood," John Jones said.

Three years after moving in, Jones says quiet time is hard to come by.

"The noise is substantial," he said.

"If you're shooting north from their stand, it only takes about a 2-degree difference in where they're aiming for that bullet to clear the top of that wall," Jones' neighbor David Ball said. "You can't control those bullets. They may have the best intentions of where they're aiming their guns but you can't control ricochets."

Complaints from the small community convinced the Smith County District Attorney to file a civil suit against High Noon. It says the range fails to meet safety standards required by law.

We spoke with the owners of the gun range by phone. They said they have no comment about what's been going on except to say they believe the law-suit against them is un-constitutional.

Gun range member Deryl Henson doesn't believe a bullet could make it to nearby homes.

"There's a high cliff, probably close to 20 feet high, all the way around the place," he said. "Vertical cliffs."

Jones says nothing about this fight is "anti-gun."

"The ideal outcome would be that they resolve the safety issues," Jones said.

Until then, Ball's 9-year-old daughter is laying low.

"Her comment to me was, 'Daddy am I going to get shot?' and that's heart-breaking to me as a father."

The law suit that's been brought against High Noon could be on shaky legal ground. State law relies on the National Rifle Association to define a safe shooting range. The state Attorney General recently said that could be unconstitutional.

Property values at nearby homes have plummeted by 30 percent because this gun range is so close.


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