By Karen Kennedy
Residents of Montgomery, Ohio, who live a mile or less from the Point Blank Gun Range in Blue Ash have sent a letter of warning regarding the proposed Point Blank Gun Range developers want to build on Range Line Road to the Carmel City Council and the editors of Current, which reads in part, “Believe me, when this range opens, if it is not soundproofed as the one here in my backyard is not, they (the neighbors of the gun range) will hear gunfire every day.”
About two dozen citizens begged their city council on Aug. 8 to help them find a solution to the fact that the sound of gunfire wakes their families up in the morning and keeps them up at night.
The citizens have made repeated attempts to resolve the situation with Point Blank’s co-owner, Tom Willingham. Point Blank Gun Range opened in Blue Ash in November, 2012. Montgomery citizen John Augustin said in a phone interview, “We got through the winter just fine. Our houses were closed up tight for the weather, and they were just getting started over there, so things were OK.”
However, as the warmer weather approached and business picked up at Point Blank, the neighbors realized they had a problem.
“There are 168 hours in a week. Point Blank is open 90 hours a week. That means that we are listening to the sound of gunfire more than half of the time here.”
At first, the neighbors thought this would be an easy fix.
“I wrote what I thought was a very nice letter,” Augustin said. “I told Mr. Willingham that we wished him every success, and that our purpose was not to shut him down. We are not anti-gun. We are pro-Second Amendment. We just wanted him to do something about the noise.”
After waiting two weeks for a reply, Augustin called Willingham. According to Augustin, Willingham told him he did not care to discuss the matter and hung up on him. In later correspondence from Point Blank co-owner Dawn Green, she referred to the concerned neighbors as “extremists” and claimed that they (the owners) would not meet with them.
“We are baffled by the owners’ combative response,” Augustin said. Another member of the group of concerned citizens, Steve Pollack, added, “All we are asking is that the range owners be good neighbors and add sufficient sound proofing to prevent gunshots from being audible at any residence in Montgomery and Blue Ash.”
Augustin lives 250 yards from the range, but claims the noise is disruptive up to 3/4 of a mile from the range.
“Imagine 20 to 24 lanes of guns firing all at once,” he said. “The sounds at times are almost unbearable.”
Augustin also points out that Point Blank’s website promotes “Big Boom” Wednesdays and Sundays, where gun owners are encouraged to bring larger scale weapons to the range.
Neighbors have called the police on numerous occasions. However, the Montgomery police department tells them it’s not in their jurisdiction, and the Blue Ash police department tells them that no laws have been broken. According to Augustin, one Blue Ash dispatcher even said to him, “I know you folks are suffering over there, but there’s nothing we can do.”
Finding no relief through negotiation, appeals to police and city council, the neighbors have created a website, www.fixthegunnoise.com. They have recordings of the gun noise on the site. They have not received any answers yet from their city council.
In response to an email inquiring about soundproofing plans for the proposed Point Blank gun range, attorney Jon Dobosiewicz, who represents Willingham in the application process, simply stated, “Our client has advised us that the site in Ohio complies with all applicable sound regulations. The location in Carmel will also comply with all applicable sound regulations.”
The Point Blank Gun Range’s plan had been on the agenda for the Aug. 20 Carmel Plan Commission meeting. However, the applicant asked for it to be moved to the Sept. 17 agenda.