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Buncombe County commissioners to decide on public gun range

Buncombe County commissioners to decide on public gun range (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. -- Buncombe County commissioners are scheduled to look at a proposed resolution from District 2 Commissioner Mike Fryar about a public outdoor gun range.

This is set to happen during Tuesday's meeting calling for the reallocation of money from the Asheville Art Museum.

"If people want greenways, they want bikeways, they want this not that, why can't the people have a gun range, outdoor?" Fryar asked.

Fryar proposed the idea after visiting Cleveland County which created a similar gun range.

He says the half-million dollars allocated to the art museum would only be used if the gun range costs more than $500,000, since the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission would contribute $500,000.

"If we can figure out how to just use the state's money, at $ 500,000 that works. But if it costs a million dollars, I want to be able to make sure we have the money to be able to do it," he said.

In the past, he's thought the Buncombe County landfill could be a place for the facility.

He says he's looking to include a 100-yard shooting range with six lanes for rifles and a 25-yard pistol range with eight lanes.

"I'm just trying to give people a place to go," he said.

"I'm not a fan of guns, so an outdoor gun range in Buncombe County would not be something that I would support at all," Laura Chase of Weaverville.

"Since people like shooting anyways, if we have the proper safety measures, it could be a positive thing," said Fernando Sanchez who recently moved to High Point after spending 15 years in Asheville.

He said taking money allocated for the Asheville Arts Museum complicates the issue.

Commissioner Ellen Frost, also from District 2, called the gun range "absurd".

She went on to say that it was not an appropriate time to bring up the issue after 49 people were gunned down inside a gay nightclub in Orlando.

"I think it's incredibly disrespectful to the people of Orlando," she said.

Fryar says he understands both views.

"Orlando was terrible. It was bad terrible, but as I told my brother 35 years ago, be careful brother. There's a nightclub here in town called Scandals. He opened it," he said. "My brother went to gun ranges and shot, in indoor range to shoot his pistol because he always had a pistol at the bar."

County commissioners will hear the resolution on Tuesday.

Meetings are held at 200 College Street, Room 326 in downtown Asheville beginning at 4:30 p.m.


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