Ooltewah residents question safety practices local gun range - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ooltewah residents question safety practices of Chattanooga Rifle Club

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- Residents in Ooltewah say they have had enough with a shooting range near their homes, saying they are constantly dodging bullets.

A man who lives on Short Tail Springs Road called Channel 3, after his truck window was shot out.

Jerry Newell says he had just hopped out of his truck and came back five minutes later only to find his back window had been shot out.

"I believe it was a two twenty-three round, with the size of the hole in the glass. I believe a .223 round went through, and that's enough to kill a man," says Newell.

Newell lives on Short Tail Springs Road and to the south, on Hunter Road, is the Chattanooga Rifle Club.

Newell says an aerial photo shows how his property is in the direct line of fire from stray bullets.

"I called the police department and made a police report. They seemed to think it could have been a hunter that might have been in the woods. I don't believe so, because my neighbor's got six pieces of lead out of his house. A man down the street has actually been shot and had to take lead out of him," says Newell.

"I have unfortunately been a victim of a stray shot that came from there," says Steve Laub.

Laub lives just down the road.

In 2002, a stray bullet ripped through his abdomen, and he had to undergo surgery.

"I keep my granddaughter a couple of days a week and we're out in the yard on these pleasant days, and I certainly don't want to see anything happen to her," Laub says.

Channel 3 reached out to Mark Scott, the club's president, by phone. He declined to do an interview, saying it is the club's policy not to talk to the media, saying it is biased against gun owners. He then directed us to the club's website to answer any questions about its safety practices.

The club has a long list of rules online, urging shooters to keep their guns pointed in the safest possible direction at all times and absolutely no aerial shooting.

Both Newell and Laub say having rules and enforcing them are two separate things.

"I'm certainly not anti-gun. I would fight for people's right to protect that. But all in the same token, I think safety should be the first and foremost," says Laub.

"We don't want to have to bury anybody up here, to have anything done. It's too late then, after we've had a funeral for somebody," says Newell.

Scott says the range has protective barriers in place.

Laub says he prosecuted the club, but would not talk about the outcome of his case.

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