Liberty University seeks approval for large on-campus shooting range

Published: Dec. 13, 2016 at 4:55 PM EST
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The proper way to handle a firearm is something Liberty University students have a chance to learn through a free handgun safety class.

Since the school started offering the program two years ago, 900 people have participated.

"The students that we naturally attract are very strong proponents of the 2nd amendment," said Brad Butler planning coordinator for Liberty University's department of planning and construction.

Right now the gun safety course is taught at what LU leaders call an "antiquated" facility.

They want to build a much larger complex on a part of the Liberty campus located on Camp Hydaway Road. It would include a 13,000 square-foot indoor shooting range and several outdoor spaces for rifle, archery, and skeet shooting.

"We really do want to provide the best facilities possible in the most controlled environment possible," Butler told WDBJ7 Tuesday.

The land where the shooting range might go is isolated, but a handful of people do live nearby.

Ronnie Wright is the closest neighbor.

"I'm concerned about the traffic," said Wright.

The facility could attract hundreds of people for competitions. It would also be open to the public and law enforcement.

Wright said he's worried about all those people traveling the narrow road in front of his house, but as a gun enthusiast he says he would welcome a new place to shoot.

"If they can control the noise, the (shooting) time, and traffic it would really be nice," Wright said.

Liberty needs a special use permit from Campbell County to build the shooting range. Planning commissioners have already recommended that the project move forward.

The Campbell County Board of Supervisors will have a final say on LU's permit request after a public hearing, which is scheduled for January 3.