County Leaders Urge Gun Range Neighbors To Sue

Crawford County leaders met Monday (April 21) with some community members who say a local gun range make them fear for their lives.

Quorum Court members advised angry neighbors they should sue if they want to see results, since the county cannot interfere.

“It’s hard to describe a 50-caliber gun going off,” said James Walters. “It is loud. It will rattle the windows.”

Walters lives near THOR Global Defense in Van Buren. Walters said bullets fly over his home every day.

“It’s terrible,” Walters said.

Crawford County leaders said they can only do so much.

“You can’t regulate a business as a legislative body,” said Crawford County Justice of the Peace Shane Griffin.

So, that has THOR neighbors concerned.

“What they would need to do is go through the courts,” Griffin said.

“We can’t say for sure (whether the bullets are coming from THOR),” said THOR Senior Vice President Max Rodriguez. “I would like to think that they’re not. There’s really no way to prove it is or isn’t.”

THOR employees said the facility is safe, and they have plans to install a baffle system, a structure designed to stop bullets from leaving a designated area.

“We have a meeting set up with a range that has a baffle system on it to see how we can implement that,” Rodriguez said.

The baffle system would prevent bullets from leaving the range, but some said that’s not enough.

“They don’t have a safe range for the people on the outside of it,” Walters said.

THOR employees said they do not have any lawsuits filed against them as of Monday (April 21).

11 comments

  • Joe Jack

    How long has THOR been in that location? I’m not sure, but I’m thinking it has been there a while. I don’t see how this is just now becoming such a big issue if it has been in that location for a while. I just know THOR has been around for some years, I just didn’t know if it’s the same location.

  • soonerfan

    Was the Gun range first or was the homes first? If range was first than homes should not have been built there. If homes were there than some safety regulations should have been in effect. But I agree it is dangerous bullet holes in the homes are bad. Don’t wait until someone is seriously hurt to do something.

  • Jerry

    The homes have been there for 30 plus years. There has been a problem for awhile. And people have tried before to get something done. It is a legitimate problem. But legally nothing can be done. Basically the community was told to sue them. The people aren’t wanting money. These people have worked their whole lives and most of the homes are paid for. They just want a safe place for their children, grandchildren, friends, family and themselves. This is not anything against the 2nd amendment I’m sure most of them are gun owners.

  • Shane Griffin

    So between some unfortunate cutting by 5 News and some perhaps less than effective communication on my part, the piece about Thor gun range makes us as a legislative body look bad. What I should have said is that as a legislative body, we can’t create an ordinance that regulates a business that is operating legally. As it happens, there is no agency that regulates gun range design or safety. Thor has created berms to block the bullets fired within their range. Therefore they are not violating any criminal statutes by knowingly or recklessly firing weapons within their property. However, we realize there is an issue around the area of Thor. If we did choose to create an ordinance regarding gun ranges, we still would not be able to make Thor comply with that ordinance as Arkansas has a statute that is specific to gun ranges. That statute says any legislation enacted by a local governmental entity regarding gun ranges does not apply to existing gun ranges at the inception of the ordinance. So therefore at this time, the residents need to institute a civil suit and seek an injunction.

  • atc8824

    I thought Van Buren was run by Republicans guess I was wrong.The gun range has been there for 25 to 30 years maybe not Thor but there has always been a gun range in that area.Maybe some lib wants range closed so they are intentionally shooting at peoples houses to make it look like they are coming from Thor.I put nothing past a lib to get their way.I am with Joe Jack why is this just now becoming an issue?We had an open carry day in VB so we made the libs mad?Show us the gun shot wound,show us the holes in the houses and tell us how you know for sure the bullets are coming from Thor because there are lots of crazy people that live in that area and yes I would know I lived there for 3 years.

    • C

      The gun range was put in somewhere in the last 5 to 7 years. 25 to 30 years ago it was cattle fields. The owner of Thor would have been a small child then.

    • jay

      atc8824 are you serious? I think you might be to dumb to own a gun. Please return your guns where ever you got them, before you accidently shoot yourself or someone else. I guess you wouldn’t mind if stray bullets where coming near your house or kids?

  • David

    I’ve been shooting there several times and actually planning on going within the next day or two again. If the people doing the shooting are practicing standard safe shooting, the range is safe although I cannot speak for the super long range. The normal two range shooting areas are very safe. I would suggest a range-master to watch over things during the shooting times and if I needed to pay more to have that happen, I would be willing.

  • J

    In my opinion, the range improved when they hired that sexy blonde girl. I’ll keep going so long as they keep her! Yow!

  • PK

    Why did these people not fight this when they were getting ready to build it, I think THOR is being ran well and is safe. I wouldn’t have a problem living near it because I seriously doubt these people are dodging bullets in their yards. My problem with them would have been the noise and even though I support having a range I probably would have fought having it built near me only because of noise.

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