By Sheila McLaughlin
Enquirer Staff Writer
LOVELAND - A proposal to change city gun laws to allow a target range at a former church on Loveland-Madeira Road is expected to stir a backlash from residents and owners of a nearby apartment complex.
City officials said they haven't heard much in the way of opposition - only one call from a resident at Deer Ridge Apartments, across the street from the proposed site.
But complex officials said they will turn out with residents at a public hearing at 8:30 p.m. today that precedes council's vote on amending the law to exclude the target range from its provisions.
Marvin Mann and Dan Lovett, co-owners of Shooters' Supply Shop in Loveland, need the gun law and zoning changed to expand their business into the church building after Matthew 25 Ministries moves to Blue Ash this month. The city code bans the discharge of firearms within city limits.
Bob Beck, a partner in Deer Ridge and its management company, Metro Communities, said he will urge City Council to keep the safety of the community in mind. He said he is not against the target range, but doesn't think it belongs in Loveland.
"I think that in our society today with the proliferation of violence that we see in Cincinnati and the kinds of heinous things that we read about every day, the notion of having people going to and from this facility carrying firearms has a quality to it that is intimidating. It's frightening," Beck said Monday.
William Gustavson, the attorney representing Mann and Lovett, disputed Beck's concerns, saying Beck doesn't have a "clear view" of people who own guns.
"They are doctors, they are lawyers, they are professional people. But more importantly, they are just your neighbors," said Gustavson, who is a gun owner. "Just because you own a gun, just because you shoot a gun, doesn't meant that you are forbidden to have teeth and that you are required to wear camo gear. Give me a break."
He said Mann and Lovett plan to run a state-of-the-art range that is sound- and bulletproofed. Gustavson indicated his clients would move their 16-year business from Loveland if the city rejects their proposal.
City Manager Fred Enderle said public hearings for the zone change would provide a forum for concerns about safety and noise.
City police will suggest that the amended law include language that prohibits the use of automatic weapons and limits the caliber of other guns fired as a safety precaution, Lt. Jerry Mays said.
"They have to put the ballistic stopping power in there so that these bullets don't come flying out of there," he said.
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