Proposed gun range shot down by planning commission - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Proposed gun range shot down by planning commission

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CHICKAMAUGA, WALKER COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- A Chickamauga business man is giving up the fight, after the city's planning commission scrapped plans to build a gun training center near a daycare.

The proposal prompted public outcry and Thursday, the controversy came to a head in a public hearing.

Chickamauga residents and business owners made it clear Thursday night, a gun training center isn't welcome in their community.

"It seems everyone was opposed to this and wanting to keep Chickamauga the small town that it is," says James Miller, a concerned resident.

It's all about location. The Academy for Little People is just a few hundred feet from the proposed site, leaving parents to worry about safety, residents about noise and the daycare's director about business.

"We've got our grandchildren that come and visit with us, as well as animals and pets that live in the yard, as well as a daycare across the street from us," Miller says. "Our biggest concern is safety."

"It seems that no one is interested in having a firing range in our city," says Greg Carpenter, chairman of the planning commission.

Members of the planning commission say it can't support the rezoning of the land, to make way for the center.

"That's the recommendation that will be made to the council," says Chairman Carpenter.

The man behind the proposal, who vowed not to back down, says he's giving up.

Paul Chapman's dream of owning a gun range in Chickamauga will have to wait.

"I want everyone to get along so I'm going to tell them I forfeit, just not even worry about it," says Chapman. "We're still in business right where we're at, so we'll just keep going until something comes up."

It's a victory for residents who are fired up.

The State of Georgia does not regulate how far a gun range can be from another business.

Thursday's hearing was the first of two. A second is set for next month, followed by a vote.

Paul Chapman says that won't be necessary. He plans to withdraw his proposal to city council.

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