New outdoor gun range causes stir near San Marcos


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on September 26, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 9:57 AM

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Located just off I-35 between San Marcos and New Braunfels is an outdoor gun range fittingly called County Line Shooting Center.

"Our boys are in the 4-H shooting sports in Hays County, and when they lost their place to shoot we decided it would be an optimal time to open a range,” said County Line Shooting Center owner and Austin firefighter Dean Murphy.

Murphy says they’ve received support from all over the state. “We have people as far as Houston and Dallas that are excited," he said.

On their company Facebook page, a San Marcos fire captain promised support writing, "We’re ready when you are," in response to a post about some local backlash.

Less than two miles from the new outdoor range is a neighborhood lined with homes. Some of the homeowners have concerns over the noise and stray bullets.

That’s why Murphy says he has gone above and beyond state standards.

“The minimum standard for the back berm is 20 feet, and we built these at a minimum of 22 feet. The side berms are a minimum of eight feet, and we have those at nine,” said Murphy.

In addition to the higher barriers, the shooting center also plans to hire several safety officers to patrol the range when opened.

However, homeowners who live even closer -- less than a mile away -- tell KVUE the barriers aren't enough to make them feel safe.

“We have a pool, [we] love to be outside, [we] have cattle as well and I worry about the property values and noise,” said Sheliah Schneider.

“A bullet will travel over five miles and my home sits about a half a mile from where that gun range is to be constructed,” said another nearby homeowner.

Some of the homeowners have started petitions to have the gun range shut down.

According to Hays County officials the Murphy’s have followed all the rules. Ultimately, Dean’s wife Lisa says they don’t want to go anywhere else.

“We've been in the area for 15 years, and we raised our family here. We plan on staying. This is where we're going to be,” she said.

County Line Shooting Center is expected to open by mid-November.