Proposed OPD outdoor gun range in front of...

Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 19:13:43-05

A desperate need or a neighborhood nuisance, both sides sound off on a proposed police gun range looking to be built in northwest Omaha.  Tuesday, the city council heard both sides on a proposal to allow firearms to be discharged at the training facility.

A $2.5 million outdoor gun range has its sights on the Police and Fire Training Center at HWY 133 and Rainwood Rd.  There would be 20 lanes at 50 yards, and 4 lanes at 100 yards for firing weapons.

The Omaha Police Department says hundreds officers are trained in long rifle and need to get the outdoor experience for real life situations. OPD says it was a large increase of proficient officers over the last 15 years.

Tuesday OPD Captain Adam Kyle told the council they don't need another indoor one, they need to be outdoors.

“We desperately need this gun range we have to have it. If we don’t have an outdoor gun range we’re going to be put in a pickle.  If we have a mishap or an accident and we’re not training outdoors,” Captain Kyle explained.

About 20 residents in the area were in attendance and in opposition on Tuesday.  They say the city is breaking a promise made when the facility was built to not have an outdoor gun range.  Neighbors also cited noise and safety as major concerns.

“With this change of direction by city government you need to throw the neighbors a bone and be a good neighbor, get the decibel levels down to where they can be tolerated,” said Stan Meredith, who lives in the area.

“Even in a controlled environment guns are dangerous accidents happen.  No one can guarantee when a bullet will ricochet potentially harming residents,” neighbor Shawn Melotz added.

The training center's already had broken the rules by detonating bombs at the facility when they're not supposed to.

Residents want to see the noise portion researched more, since about 200 rounds an hour could be shot off when they're open.

They city says they've researched extensively how to keep decibel levels down, but it will be up to the council to decide if they should allow a change to the ordinance.

“They’ve studied this particular item as much if not more than almost any city facility that I’m aware of that’s been constructed,” said Deputy City Attorney Bernard in den Bosch.

This was the public hearing portion; the city council will make a decision next Tuesday whether or not to allow firearms to be discharges at the training center,