The Chicken Little Diaries: A Shooting Range Zoning Saga

Presumably, some attendees donned life preservers as a protective measure. Because the discussion involved talking about guns!

Presumably, some attendees donned life preservers as a protective measure. Because the discussion involved talking about guns!

You remember the Chicken Little story, right? That was the one where a chicken went into apoplectic hysterics, causing premature delivery of a large egg which subsequently fell off a wall, injuring a large number of king’s men. I might have some of the details wrong, but the gist of the story is that it never pays to get hysterical about imagined scenarios with no basis whatsoever in fact.

Much to my amusement, I’ve got a real-life Chicken Little saga going on in my town. There’s an outdoor shopping center adjacent to my very suburban neighborhood, previously anchored by a Food Lion grocery store.

We all know how Food Lions tend to attract the classiest of customers. This particular one was so classy that four upstanding citizens (that I know of) are currently volunteering in the state rock-breaking facility for a period of not less than 15 years for armed robbery of said Food Lion. I think, because their quality standards were simply too high for even an affluent neighborhood, the store went out of business a few years ago, and the space remains empty.

Now, a fast growing firearms retailer, Palmetto State Armory, has expressed interest in opening a retail store and shooting range in the budget grocery store / armed robbery bait trap formerly known as Food Lion.

As you can imagine, the possibility of a shooting range moving in to replace the Food Lion is creating quite a stir in this relatively quiet community. At the first town planning committee meeting, a number of nearby residents expressed concern about the range being so close to a neighborhood. Comments from the public record include the following. Names have been redacted to protect those suffering from baseless hoplophobia.

“She suggested that this would not enhance the neighborhood and should not be located near any neighborhood.”

“He suggested that the shooting range should be located in a more secluded location away from residences and children.”

“stated that he is opposed to a shooting range, particularly because of safety for the public and child safety.”

“expressed concern with child safety.”

“expressed concern with child safety with a shooting range in proximity.”

“expressed concern with the potential sound issues associated with a shooting range and safety issues. She stated that they are a family business and expressed concern with having a shooting range in proximity.”

“She expressed concern with child safety…”

“expressed concern with the safety of the facility, particularly what would prevent stray bullets. She expressed concern with having the shooting range in a shopping center as opposed to a stand-alone building. She suggested that children should not be exposed to possible stray bullets and sales of ammunition.”

“expressed concern for child safety and the pedestrian path in proximity to the shopping center and amenity center. He expressed concern with carrying guns from the parking lot to the shooting range.”

“stated that she is opposed to the shooting range, particularly in proximity to a bar. She expressed concern with stray bullets and sale of ammunition. She stated that when the shopping center was established it was noted that it would not support bingo parlors and other uses such as a shooting range.”

I have to agree with some of these comments. Who in their right mind would want a bingo parlor near homes, families and pets? We all know those are notorious for violent senior citizen gang initiation rituals. Next thing you know, we’ll have a chinchilla rescue moving in, and that would be tragic indeed.

When you filter out the fruit salad of huff-puffery, the concerns boiled down to two predictable, yet entirely baseless issues:

Because Children!

A number of residents expressed concern that children are frequently in that same strip mall, either walking home from school or attending dance or karate classes. I had to agree with this point because there’s not much more dangerous than a bunch of primary schoolers with mad karate skills. Can you imagine the bloodbath if we were to allow bands of martially trained munchkins to roam free like packs of rabid meerkats? Worse yet, they would probably be wearing gang colors like those yellow and green belts.

Later I found out that these folks were not actually worried about the danger from hordes of “Youth Lee” but rather the danger to kids from the gun store and shooting range. No one clarified on exactly how this business might endanger children, but that’s beside the point. You know why. Because children!!!

I did some fact checking and looked on Google, but I could find no record of other Palmetto State Armory locations abducting children for ritual sacrifices. But maybe I just missed the story.

Because Ammunition!

A number of folks seem concerned about the sale of ammunition near homes and a restaurant that sells alcohol. I for one was glad to hear someone raise this issue because before now I didn’t realize that ammunition, left unsupervised, was prone to multi-day drinking benders. Heads up people!

This objection really stumped me for a bit. Across the street is an Ace Hardware store that sells a wide variety of ammo. Better yet, a Wal-Mart a couple of blocks away sells truckloads of ammunition. Oh, and they sell beer and wine in the same store! And toys! Gadzooks! Because ammunition AND alcohol AND children! Fortunately, this particular Wal-mart built extra durable deep foundation supports so the bloodbath wouldn’t erode the building over time.

Predictably, the overlords of the planning committee voted unanimously to deny the zoning variance. But there’s a second reading coming up, and after that, the first reading in front of the full town council. The project is not dead yet, just wounded.

If the whining continues, I’m going to see if I can lure an indoor lawn tractor racing league into leasing the space. That’ll show ‘em.

Grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips. It will help make you a better shooter and the envy of your range in no time.

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  1. […] time, I relayed the first part of the Chicken Little Diaries: A Shooting Range Zoning Saga. It was about a neighborhood and town council reaction to the proposed opening of an indoor […]

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