Controversy over proposed Collierville indoor gun range

Controversy over proposed Collierville indoor gun range
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

COLLIERVILLE, TN (WMC) - There is a controversy in Collierville over plans to build a new indoor gun range next to a pediatrician's office.

Doctors have taken a stand against the proposal, but one business owner is hoping to put their concerns to rest.

"Safety is the first thing we wanted," Jim Kohan said.

Kohan is one of the partners working on the indoor shooting range.

He explains the safety features include concrete walls, bullet-proof glass, steel plates on the ceiling and bullet traps that could stop even the largest caliber bullets.

"It will be military grade. There will be nothing in Shelby County of this caliber," Kohan said.

However, doctors across the street tried to block his plans on Monday night.

"We have an objection because people can be afraid when you say you're doing something with guns. Is it safe? And it is totally safe in here," Kohan said.

Others said safety is not the main concern.

"That statement really assumes safety is the primary issue. And safety isn't the primary issue," Dr. Gina Hanissian said.

In fact, Dr. Hanissian said guns and gun ranges are not even the issue.

"My husband owns a gun," Dr. Hanissian said. "This is primarily a zoning issue."

Under Collierville ordinances, gun ranges can only go in areas zoned industrial.

Kohan is asking for a Conditional Use Permit, which is basically an exemption.

The ordinance has certain exceptions for a Conditional Use Permit when it comes to a gun range.

"Things like schools, daycares, churches, as well as public assembly and parks," Hanissian said. "We feel like our clinic is very similar. We have children present here all day."

Hannissian said the city needs to stick to its own logic; otherwise, she fears it will hurt their business.

"We've gotten feedback that this will adversely affect our pediatric practice," Hanissian said.

The Board of Alderman will now decide on February 22 if they will include medical facilities on its list of exceptions, effectively shooting down the indoor gun range plans, or if they will pull the trigger and grant the Conditional Use Permit and allow the range to move forward.

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