By Jon Craig
An embattled Ardsley shooting range has issued a “call to arms,” so to speak, inviting supporters to Tuesday’s work session of the Greenburgh Town Board to shoot down plans for a new ordinance that would close the facility permanently.
In a Facebook posting, Scott Palmer, treasurer of the Westchester County Police Revolver & Rifle League, asked residents and others who practice at the range at 693 Ardsley Road to appear before the Town Board and voice opposition to a new law proposed by Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner.
In his “call to action,” Palmer wrote: “First, let me say that we understand that this is a frustrating and upsetting situation for all of us that love the range. I have received emails from many of you, both stating your concerns and pledging your support.”
Palmer said the non-profit range has contacted the NRA and requested a Range Technical Team (RTT) be sent “to conduct their own safety assessment of our facility and provide us and the town with their recommendations/findings. We have several estimates for the berm remediation, but have decided to wait to proceed with that until after we receive the NRA’s
assessment/recommendations for our facility.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has offered legal assistance in dealing with this situation “and our lawyer is working closely with them,” Palmer said. Scott Sommavilla, president of the Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, “has been very supportive and is currently helping us with some media coverage,” he added.
“We hope to see you all at Town Hall,” Palmer concluded.
Last week, Feiner proposed a new town law after an Ardsley Chase townhouse resident was struck by a suspected stray bullet fragment on June 12. During town meetings, neighbors of the Westchester County Police Revolver & Rifle League expressed concern about continued operation of the outdoor gun range after the resident said she was injured in her back yard. The victim was treated for a small scratch by the Ardsley-Secor Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Operators voluntarily shut the six-day-a-week practice facility down after the Birch Hill Road resident was struck in the leg by a flat circular object. Feiner has said he hopes a public hearing can be held on the proposed ordinance during the Town Board meeting on Aug. 27.
On his Internet posting, Palmer wrote that “the alleged incident was immediately reported to our insurance company and they have assigned their own adjuster, legal team and investigators to handle the matter. Our lawyer is in close contact with them and their investigation. After all, that is why we have insurance. We have been notified that this individual has retained legal representation as a result of the alleged incident, and our lawyer is in conversation with them. Con Ed (our landlord) has its own legal team conducting its own investigation into the alleged incident and we have also reached out to them offering our assistance in any way possible.”
The proposed ordinance would require valid town permits for new shooting ranges, and would require existing ranges to comply with the provisions within six months of the local law’s passage. No new or existing range could operate within a quarter-mile of a home, school, place of worship, playground, child day care center or public park. Each range would be designed to contain bullets, gunshot or related debris on the range facility, according to the proposed ordinance, and shall be designed to minimize off-site noise impacts. The gun range owner/permit holder also would be required to carry $5 million in liability insurance coverage.
Civil penalties of $1,000-a-day could be assessed by the Greenburgh Police Department for violations of the proposed ordinance.
The not-for-profit gun range, which is not affiliated with the police, is within striking distance of the Sprain Brook Parkway. The shooting range also is close to Ardsley Middle School, school bus stops and a playground.
There are no state regulations of shooting ranges including the one in Greenburgh, which first opened during the 1940s. The range also is not required to provide security at the site. There also are no required safety inspections of shooting ranges.
Operators of the shooting range invited Town Board members to take a tour of the facility.