1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Gun Club Litigation

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by topgun, May 20, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. topgun

    topgun TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    43
    Need some inputs folks. The local southern New England club I belong to has expended upwards of $300K in legal costs associated with deep pocketed abbuttors who are determined to shut the club down. The short version of a long story is that the club was founded in 1966 but the plaintiffs attorney had the great good fortune to find an apparent defect in the original permitting in that year. Bottom line is it is decreeded we never existed for 41 years as a gun club and we now have to (and have) submitted a site plan as if we were a completely new organization. Also, because we officially did not exist, we are ineligible for protection from our state law protecting existing gun clubs from noise litigation. With that the planning board is looking at two things:(1) That the noise level and the use of the land will not be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood and (2) that the use of the property will not be detrimental to the environment. In regards to item 1 the town has no defined noise ordinance so the planning board requested that the club put on a shooting demo while they monitored the noise levels from the properties of various plaintiffs. The subjective results, believe it or not, is that a full squad shooting 125 rounds in 20 minutes is OK as is 375 rounds an hour. Since we have two fields that would effectively shut one field down and preclude shooting doubles altogether.
    The planning board which has no police power to enforce shooting rates or time of shooting (yes the planning board will limit our hours as well as the shooting rate)is saying to us that if we let you shoot at the 375/hr rate and at certain times what assurance can you give us now that will preclude the club from doing something else. They are actually suggesting we consider using timers, video cameras, time stamps, etc. This scenario would be almost funny it we were not fighting for the clubs existence. So the help I need is does anyone know of any clubs in the US that have had these kind of constraints fostered on them? And thats the shooting rate, not the hours of operation. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Gross Man

    Gross Man Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Virginia
    Contact the NRA - I think they can help you. Bill
     
  3. Dave P

    Dave P TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,512
    Location:
    Canton, Il.
    I agree with Bill. Let us know the progress and problems you incur.
     
  4. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    15,642
    Location:
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Wireguy, good. It costs more to be on the defensive, from a legal standpoint.

    Attorneys have to spend more time on research, strategy, etc. They need an order to show cause filed as to why the original permit was suddenly found to be inadequate.

    Personally, I think the gun club should shut down and become a party haven for outlaw bikers. Things would change in a hurry.

    Contact your local chapter of Hell's angels.

    on the same note, our club operated for about 40 years with no legal recognition at all. When I started shouting about it I was told to pipe down. fortunately, a few years later, the town has recognised us and we are permitted to operate. There is some encroachment but it is mostly commercial development.

    Had we had no legal recognition as an entity we could have been wiped out in an instant.

    HM

    HM
     
  5. topgun

    topgun TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    43
    Wireguy,
    We did not spend +$300K being defensive. When I said I was giving you the short story I meant a lot more things happened then I was telling you. For instance when the planning board first decided we were illegal we took them to court. The superior court judge listened to the story and ruled in our favor. The plaintiffs then appealed to the state supreme court. The court did not question the superior judges ruling but simply said the judge doesn't have the right to make one, only the planning board. This extrodinary piece of injustice thus gave the authority back to the very people we sued. Soon after that in an offensive move the pro shooting fraternity drafted an amended state law that now said any club which was in operation for any amount of time legal or not was protected. The plaintiffs then appealed that to the supreme court who refused to rule and passed it back to the very same superior court judge who agreed with the abbuttors and declared the law unconstitutional. Offensively we appealed this ruling back to the supreme court and are waiting a decision. And on and on and on. MY ORIGINAL QUESTION IS SIMPLY ARE THERE ANY CLUBS OUT THERE WITH IMPOSED LIMITATIONS AND CONTROLS ON THEIR RATE OF FIRE?
     
  6. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,359
    Location:
    Prairie State
    To deal with these issues - contact two sources...

    National Shooting Sports Foundation - Rick Patterson, Executive Director of NASR - National Association of Shooting Ranges and Director of SAAMI - contact Rick at (203) 426-1320.

    At one time, Wildman Harrold (law firm) in Chicago was (and maybe still is) the industry database for environmental-based club litigation - contact Leo Dombrowski (312) 201-2562.

    I used both resources successfully in my litigation involving the CWA and they helped us facilitate our NPDES permit with the Illinois and US EPAs (prior to the Balefill case)

    Both these resources are top notch, contact each and you can use my name. For additional discussion, contact me off thread.

    Jay Spitz
    Naperville Sportsman's Club
     
  7. dverna

    dverna Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,717
    I have absolutely no confidence in our legal system. Most attorneys are incompetent - they know more about the "law" than the average Joe but that does not make them competent. If you had faith in your attorneys, you would not be posting here - you already sense failure and your gut feelings are probably right. (Been there - done that)

    You have pissed away $300,000 (the cost of a nice clubhouse) and you will piss away more. The bad news is IF you win this round you WILL lose eventually - it is sad but it is reality.

    Sell the place and buy a larger property that is (and will remain) safer from "encroachment". Invest in the future - not in attorneys.

    Don (who just lost a legal battle that will likely bankrupt our operations and put 120 people out of work)
     
  8. Dove Commander

    Dove Commander TS Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,364
    Contact Pat Lieske at the Island Lake gun club near Detroit. They just fought (and are still fighting) the same battle. They are leasing a shooting "facilty" from the state of Michigan and various housing projects moved in and sued for noise control. I'm sure Pat would fill you in on their approach which so far has been in their favor. Make the individuals sueing put out as much of their personal money as possible. Stretch it out.
     
  9. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    15,642
    Location:
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    Rate of fire has no meaning. Some clubs are complying with noise level limitations, that is a more realistic control.

    I have never heard of any thing like that. Sounds like a blue state to me.

    HM
     
  10. joshif

    joshif TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    190
    Invite Snoope Dog, 50 cent,Ludicrious, and some other garbage rappers and see if they try to shut THEM down for noise! They'd be too scared for being called Racists and Bigots. Then sell the club to the Rappers and laugh and go shoot somewhere else. See who'd they would have liked better. You or THEM! Oh, The women would flock to THEM especially the young ones.PIGS!
     
  11. welderman

    welderman TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    102
    It sounds as though you are dealing with unreasonable people. One of the things that worries me about your position, is the subjective noise test. Obviously below some noise level, the rate of fire should not be an issue. One suggestion is that you obtain accurate db (noise level) measurements at the edge of your property. If that noise is below what would be expected from a motorcycle driving by with a firing rate of about 120,000 explosions/hour, I think you would have a strong case for getting firing rate removed from the table. If you decide to have noise measurements made, contact me at Wesford Sportsman's Club. I may be able to help. Tom S. (welderman)
     
  12. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    3,399
    I would contact the NRA, if anybody would know whether any club had limitations and controls on their rate of fire, they would or should know.

    You need to remind these neighbors that if that land is not being used as a gun club it will be used for something else. Don't like the gun club, wait until some developer buys it and puts in zero lot line houses or apartments, then you will have traffic to bitch about. You'll wish you had that green space back with less traffic and congestion.
     
  13. Hill topper

    Hill topper Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    547
    We had a local gun club operation that had to operate under time and noise constraints. He was so restricted by his hours of operation that he went broke and the club went out of business. He lasted around three years or so.

    He was put out of business by county officials.

    The owner was his worst enemy and brought about his demise by his arrogant attitude. Had he had adequate legal counsel at the beginning of operation and an attitude adjustment he would have had a chance to succeed.

    Bottom line is, restricted hours mean restricted income.
    You can't operate under those conditions.

    Years ago the Edwardsville Ill. gun club had to relocate after encroachment of housing. They spent tons of money fighting to retain their land but ultimately had to relocate. Whoever has the most money wins in our legal system. The lawyers do quite well whatever the outcome.

    Doesn't sound good for your club.

    ed.
     
  14. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,359
    Location:
    Prairie State
    A Club can operate quite well in an urban environment if it chooses to be part of the community. That doesn't mean to just exist - its means to be a good neighbor and part of that is to understand the other parties issues.

    We operate in the downtown center of a 140K city. We're a public range now (20 years), times change and our operation had to evolve for survival. We have Open Houses, offer classes through our Park District - point being, we're part of the community.

    We invite our neighbors to meetings to discuss our programming. When we considered changing operating hours a couple years back, from Sunday to Saturday (for their benefit , we thought!)- we asked for feedback from the neighbors - surprisingly, they were happy with the current arrangement - they appreciated the invitation to participate - it creates a working relationship.

    Many times by trying to avoid interaction, avoid promotion, keeping to ourselves - we create our eventual end. I cannot recommend vigurously enough for Clubs/ranges to create a PR plan and open their ranges for some public access - these kind of plans can nip future problems in the bud.

    Jay Spitz
     
  15. smartass

    smartass TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    1,099
    1. This is the wrong place to go for good legal advice (or any other kind of advice for that matter).

    2. What gun clubs in other states experience is irrelevant since each state has it's own laws.

    3. Don't try to substitute foolish blubbering for a competent attorney.
     
  16. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    9,353
    $300,000 ????????????

    You have been smoked

    The facts simply cant be belived

    And if you didnt have the right permit to operate whose fault is that?

    Gene
     
  17. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    4,359
    Location:
    Prairie State
    Anonymous:

    Making blank statements, are always not true. There is plenty of good information made available, both legal and otherwise, but it is our individual responsibility to determine what can apply. Recommendations to competent resources should be encouraged.

    Even though state laws can vary on a variety of topics, many environmental-type laws come at the federal level, and while US EPA may give state EPAs, DEPs etc...some lattitude on implementing some law, Some laws are so rigidly interpreted that USEPA allows no lattitude.

    Jay
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.