New IL gun range raises concerns

WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - By mid-July, SI Shooters Supply is hoping to finish building an outside gun range, but one West Frankfort resident hopes it won't happen.

"I bought this place in 1968 and I planned on retiring on a peaceful community and it's turning out a little different than I thought," 72-year-old resident, Tom Broy Sr. said.

Broy is pro-guns and has more than 200 hours of shooting in gun ranges throughout Illinois, but says with a gun range being built so close to his home and other residential areas, it's a safety hazard.

"My home is about 700 feet and my son's is less than that," Broy said. "And I'm worried about the kids being hit or anybody being hit actually."

Owners of SI Shooters Supply say the outdoor range is something that's needed for the Southern Illinois area.

"Safety is at the forefront," part-owner, Jason Hoffard said. "The whole goal and purpose of the range is actually to increase safety for the proper handling of firearms and safety will be of upmost importance at this particular venue."

Broy says he's also worried about what he'll be hearing.

"If they're shooting, 20 feet from my land and I have to wear head protection, to drive around my land, you know…it's kind of ridiculous," Broy said.

Hoffard said the range will be designed with those concerns in mind.

"The berms that we're going to be put up are going to be 25 feet high," Hoffard said. "I think they'd actually be surprised by how much the noise will be contained."

The owners did state the outside gun range is outside city limits, and don't believe it will cause harm to those in the community.

"When you're firing, going to the north, there aren't any residents going to the straight north, so two and a half miles before you run into a residence north. So it would be very unlikely that that will happen," Hoffard said.

Broy says he has hired an attorney, hoping the outdoor gun range will be moved elsewhere.

"You know my family's here," Broy said. "And that's what you want to protect, your family, your children, your grandchildren."

Owners of the SI Shooter supply said they are open to sit down with residents who are concerned to come up with safety ideas for this range before it plans to open in mid-July.

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