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Gun range causes homeowner concerns

UPDATE: Around 11 a.m. today Smith County Constable Andy Dunklin said he served papers from the district attorney's office to Don Layton, one of five owners of High Noon Gun Range in Flint. The papers said the gun range violates Section 756.042 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The Smith County District Attorney's office is giving the gun range operators 60 days to bring the range up to safety standards. If the owners and operators fail to make adequate changes, they will each be fined $50 per day up to $500.


FLINT, TX (KLTV) - Concerns about an East Texas gun range have nearby residents speaking out.

The range is located on County Road 1108 in Flint, just southwest of Noonday.

People living on surrounding properties said is safety a concern, but the value of their property is also taking a significant plunge

David Ball and his family moved to their property about a year ago. He said they were planning to build another house on the land, but now they're not so sure.

 "A couple of months ago we noticed that gunshots started increasing in number and intensity. That would obviously concern somebody if you hear something really loud like that so I went over to investigate it and was a little concerned by what I saw," said Ball.

He saw a gun range and sent pictures to the NRA. Richard Whiting, author of the NRA manual on establishing a gun range, said,

"The range is situated in such a fashion as to create a clear and present danger to properties immediately down range-Richard whiting".

 Ball said his home is about 650 feet down range, but his property extends even closer.

Which worried his family... especially his daughter.

"She's about nine years old and said, 'daddy am I going to get shot playing in my own backyard? A child should not have to worry about their safety in their own backyard," Ball said.

A map from the Smith County appraisal district shows Ball's property in green and the gun range in yellow.

Chief appraiser Michael Barnett said the range's location impacts property value.

 "Overall right now we've made a reduction on the order of about 900,000 dollars," Barnett said.

 That's a 30% percent reduction on nearly two dozen properties the map marked in green.

And while that means lower property taxes, it also means the schools teaching their children will get less funding.

"That'd be about $18,000 lost in revenue to the respective taxing entities primarily the county and the school district," said Barnett.

And homeowners still have until next February to ask for their property to be reassessed.

"Here's the other part of the issue.. how far are we going to extend this reduction in property value?" said Barnett

"I think I would have a hard time finding someone to buy my place even with a 30% reduction but I think my main concern is my safety for my family and my kids," said Ball.

Ball said he and neighbors will continue fighting until the gun range is moved or significant safety measures are implemented.

The owner of High Noon Gun Range chose not to comment on the issue.

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