Landlord Caves to Pressure, Terminates Lease for 70-year-old Range

   07.22.14

The Westchester County Police Revolver and Rifle League (WCPRRL) has been a fixture of Greenburgh, New York since the 1940s. The small range was built into an unused rock quarry in what is now the neighborhood of Ardsley Chase, but the gun club was there before the homes—and their residents—moved in. Now some of those residents want the shooting range gone, and it seems they might get their wish. After weeks of controversy surrounding the gun club after a local resident said she was hit by a bullet fragment from the range, the WCPRRL’s landlord, Con Ed, has decided to terminate their lease.

According to News Westchester 12, Con Ed has given the WCPRRL 30 days to vacate the premises. The gun club has already been closed for the past several weeks pending investigation, but supporters of the range are anything but resigned to the gun club’s closing. WCPRRL members from Greenburgh say that the move to put the range out of business is purely political, and the league’s attorney agrees.

“The range has a 73-year record of safety. If this truly was a public safety issue, it’s one we could have easily resolved,” Robert Berkowitz, who is representing the range, told CBS 2.

The incident at the heart of the controversy occurred in mid-June when a woman living in Ardsey Chase, an affluent neighborhood with homes routinely priced well over a million dollars, told police that she was hit with a object that she thought was a bullet fragment. Police are currently investigating whether that is the case. The WCPRRL, which is not affiliated with law enforcement, claims that it was impossible for a stray bullet to escape the range, especially considering its construction inside a stone quarry and the angle of the shooting range. Regardless, some residents started pushing for the gun club’s permanent closure due to safety concerns.

“We are not talking about golf balls; we are talking about bullets and bullets can kill,” resident Pam Epstein said.

The fight over the range eventually spilled over into Town Hall last week as residents found themselves taking sides over whether the WCPRRL should be closed down. Some insist that the range is a fundamental part of Greensburgh and has a longstanding history of safety. For gun owners, it is also one of the few outdoor shooting ranges in the area. Opponents of the range argue that the facility is loud and potentially hazardous.

The WCPRRL’s treasurer, Scott Palmer, announced recently that the league is working with legal consultants from groups such as the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). In addition, the gun club has requested that a NRA Range Technical Team review the facility for safety. It is not currently known whether the club will fight the termination of its lease, or what options are available for it to do so.

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