No plans to close shooting range, ranger says

CRAIG COUNTY – Although gun rights’ advocates are asking supporters to pack a Feb. 7 Craig County Board of Supervisors’ meeting, the agenda subject is not about closing a shooting range in the National Forest there, county and federal officials say.

Instead, the report by Eastern Divide National Forest Ranger Cindy Schiffer will be about what could be done to buffer noise.

“Shooting ranges provide a safe, controlled environment for target practice and I have no plans to close the range.” Ranger Cindy Schiffer told The New Castle Record on Feb. 4.

The same day, Craig County Administrator Richard Flora said, “I think there is a misconception. The word is out there that the county wants to close the shooting range down and that’s not correct. What supervisors are asking is if there is anything that could be done to help the noise,” Flora said. “No one wants to close it down.”

That night, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League sent a message to members asking them to send thousands of emails to Craig supervisors to oppose closing the range, and asked people to “pack the audience with gun owners.”

The shooting range came up at the January supervisors’ meeting, when Simmonsville District Supervisor Martha Murphy brought up concerns she’d heard from someone who lives in the Potts Mountain District near the range off Rt. 311, she said. The resident said the noise from the range went on at all hours, 24 hours a day, she said, and was disturbing neighbors with noise and trash.

Schiffer said the range is closed by signs from dusk to dawn, and there are periodic patrols.

The supervisors’ meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the Craig County Courthouse in New Castle.

For more details on the Potts Slope Shooting Range and quotes from county leaders as well as Craig County Republican Party Chairman Jordan Labiosa, who first called on people to “Stand up with the Craig County GOP in opposition to shutting down the Gun Range!” on his Labiosa’s Facebook page, see this week’s Feb. 6 print edition of The New Castle Record.