The Powder Room

Delaware Gazette

  
Wednesday, July 28, 2010


BRYAN BULLOCK

The shooting range at the Powder Room has been silent for more than seven weeks, but its owners are hopeful the sound of gunfire will soon return.
The City of Powell shut down the local firing range last month after concluding the facility raised safety concerns. Powder Room co-owner Bill Dixon said the issues have been addressed and the business is currently working with city officials to reopen the indoor shooting range.
The city on June 8 notified the Powder Room to cease operating its range after an inspection discovered holes in the back wall and roof of the business, damages city officials said were caused by bullets and/or bullet shrapnel exiting the building. A Powell police Sargent reported the damages after responding to investigate a suspicious vehicle at the business on May 27.
“We are very concerned about the safety to the general public at this time, due to the lack of safety precautions provided for by your use of the shooting range,” stated a violation letter sent by the city to the Powder Room following an inspection.

Dixon said the Powder Room fixed the safety issues immediately after learning about them and has prevented them from happening again. He said a plate that slid out of place in the shooting range’s bullet containment system was causing shrapnel to occasionally deflect through the roof. Dixon said holes in the back of the facility were caused by pests, not gunfire.

Dixon, who has owned the Powder Room for more than seven years, said he is eager to reopen the shooting range. He said he has been forced to lay off employees and cut salaries to keep his business afloat while the range is closed. Powell has allowed the business to continue its retail sales while concerns about the range are addressed.

“Not only does the range provide a healthy part of our income here but the people who use the range also come in to shop, so we have lost our foot traffic,” he said.

Powell Spokesman Jeff Robinson said the city will allow the shooting range to reopen once it is inspected and approved as safe to operate, something a registered architect or engineer could be permitted to do.

Powell previously notified the Powder Room to cease operating its firing range in March 2008. After addressing the city’s safety concerns, the business was able to reopen at that time. A city investigation found bullet fragments exited the range and hit a nearby property. The Powder Room, in response, spent more than $25,000 to update the range and address safety concerns.

Powell Councilwoman Sara Marie Brenner is currently working with the Powder Room owners to see that the range is safe and opened quickly.

“I have gotten involved in this matter because several people brought it to my attention,” she said. “I have requested that the city take prompt action to reopen the shooting range.”

In an e-mail obtained by the Gazette, a Delaware attorney who specializes in second amendment issues told Brenner the procedure to close down a shooting range in Ohio includes retaining an expert on the NRA Range Source Book. That expert is then required to provide evidence and an opinion as to whether the range complies with the source book, the document that under state law provides safety guidelines for shooting ranges.

Robinson said the violation notice Powell used to shut down the Powder Room’s shooting range was based on city code, not the NRA Range Source Book.

“Whether evaluating (a violation notice) based on that is a requirement per the Ohio Revised Code is a question for legal counsel and not one anyone here can answer,” he said.

Central Ohio Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association Linda Walker said she could not speak to the legal matter, but she is eager for the Powder Room to reopen its firing range.

“There aren’t a lot of business in that area that fulfill that need,” she said.” We definitely need the Powder Room to reopen.”


bbullock@delgazette.com

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