Holly Ridge council receives public input on gun range suit

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Submitted: Wed, 10/09/2013 - 3:18am
Updated: Wed, 10/09/2013 - 12:15pm

HOLLY RIDGE, NC (WWAY) — Citizens of Holly Ridge turned out in force Tuesday night to share their thoughts on a lawsuit against Surf City Guns and Ammo.

“I’m here in support of Surf City Guns and Ammo and their right to operate a private gun range on private property,” Jeff Trout said.

“I believe that this lady and her husband are doing this lady a great service,” Jane Burgess said.

The owners of Surf City Guns and Ammo say that for years they have used their gun range to let gun enthusiast enjoy their weapons while learning the importance of gun safety.

“Our idea is that if people are going to own guns we want them safe and careful and we want them to take care of them,” Surf City Guns and Ammo owner Dorothy Royal said.

But recently some of their neighbors have questioned the range’s safety and now the town of Holly Ridge is voicing its concern in a lawsuit.

“We’ve had two home owners file reports with the police department for a bullet striking their home,” said Kelly Collins. “It’s just out and about a nuisance.”

Kelly Collins was the only person in attendance to voice concern to the town council saying that the facilities at the gun range are out of code.

Supporters of the business are already shooting holes in arguments made in the lawsuit.

“With the introduction of the lawsuit no one has visited the range to see if there is any merit to this whatsoever,” said Trout. “It seems like everything is piled on and blamed on one person and one particular instance and nothing has been proven to back that up.”

“I think the irony of this whole thing is that I have an unlawful range on my property,” Royal said. “The town of Surf City’s Police Department range is right there behind my property. I feel if they’re going after me why aren’t they going after the town of Surf City? Why aren’t they going after the other people with property that have ranges on it for years?”

Holly Ridge Town Council members as well as the town attorney declined comment because the lawsuit is currently in litigation.


  • Guest Reply Redux says:

    How does a commenter post and have their comments show up at 11:34pm?
    Are you a reporter for WWAY?

  • paul revere says:

    If there was a bullet that did strike a home, where is the bullet? Why has it not been used for any evidence against this range? Why haven’t there been any evidence of the damage caused by the bullet strike? The original complaint started on Noise and then this bullet story came up. Holly Ridge is located across the street from a US Marine firing range. Residents hear military noise days and nights. It’s true, Surf City has a gun range in the same vicinity, but they are police, so that is okay. Holly Ridge also has a gun range near Summerhouse Subdivision, again, that is okay, because it is the police. Right? No, wrong. I am not affiliated with the gun range nor use the gun range, I just think its time that personal vendettas are removed from politics, local or national.

  • wway news says:

    Guest Reply Redux – thanks for taking the time to comment.

    The original story was posted online around 11:18 pm last night.

    The comment you’re referring to was sent at 11:34 pm and then we approved it this morning. That gave anyone at least 15 minutes to leave a comment. We’re not sure why you’re insinuating that a WWAY employee left that comment


    Scott Pickey
    News Director

  • deputy25 says:

    because Einstein there would have been a comment from the owners as it would have been listed in the report and a police report on file to back it up. i guess you are not in law enforcement are you? its public record to look at the complaint. look at it, nothing but noise complaints in there.

  • Guest 43 says:

    None of the complaining houses in the neighborhood directly across the street (and down range from the firing area) are more than 4000 feet away from the firing platforms. The particular house you mentioned is only 1200 feet away.

  • Guest 87 says:

    Lots of mysterious and spooky stories are being bantered about about how dangerous this range is. The council is not discounting any of them, including the absurd ones. A gentleman claimed his wife “heard a round ricochet off a tree” while she was outside picking up the yard during a hurricane, two miles away from the property in question and a year before it was opened. Has the council done any due diligence? Any proof of wrong doing or safety violations? Have they visited the range or asked any experts to inspect it? No they haven’t. However, the Royals did. It has past the requirements to be insured. It has been inspected by Onslow County, a Pender County sheriffs deputy, and multiple NRA instructors. Have you seen the ranges around it that no one is complaining about and the town is not suing? How do they stack up? You may be surprised. Why won’t the council answer whether this is a safety issue or a commercial/private property usage issue? Because they don’t have grounds and didn’t follow proper procedure and know it. They are trying to bully private land owners out of there jurisdiction. The complainant is constantly contradicting herself and her arguments are not making sense when you put them al in context. All she has to do is mention her baby or the safety of children and all common sense goes out the window.

  • deputy25 says:

    I agree with guest paul revere. sounds like the town council files a lawsuit without PROOF!! how about closing down the “thug range” who are they, just look at the news everyday and you can see them. concentrate on something MORE of a problem than a regulated firing range. I drive through there and i hear the military firing alot of the times. send them a letter about a lawsuit and see what happens. The gub-mint is trying to take over every aspect of our lives, control control control!! people are tired of it and i hope that this lawsuit gets thrown back in the face of the town dummies!!

  • Guest Bill says:

    How do you know they don’t have proof?

  • X1 says:

    This is the second time, by my count, that WWAY has run this story and there has been very little information given to the reader. It would be difficult for a reasonable person to come to some sort of conclusion given the articles’ lack of information.

    Is this meant to be an article on 2nd amendment rights or land use laws and issues?
    Is the property in the town’s jurisdiction or ETJ?
    Are firing ranges a permitted use?
    Have the property owners, at some point, applied for and received a permit?
    Have they maintained the range so as to remain in compliance with said permit?
    Are other similar uses permitted and in compliance?

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a local government to have and enforce rules governing the placement and use of something like a firing range.

    WWAY needs to provide additional detail if it is going to continue to run this story.

  • Christina Anthony says:

    …is located in Onslow County, just beyond Pender County lines. According to Royal, the gun range is considered ETJ. Unfortunately, the Town of Holly Ridge would not comment, leaving a few questions unanswered. Hopefully this helps.

  • beach guy says:

    the two complaints of bullets striking homes is kind of odd were the instances investigated? was it proven that these hopefully errant rounds came from this particular range? too many questions and not enough answers and further more was the residence there first or the range? If you build a house next to a gun range or ranges in this case are you not resuming some of the liability?. and the next question would be zoning as in what is the land use permitted in this area.
    It could possibly turn out that no one could have a range and everybody would have to find another place to practice or the homes are built in an area that allows this kind of activity if this is the case then I believe it would be a case of the homeowner not doing his homework prior to purchase. It would be the same if some one purchased a house in a commercially zoned part of town and wanted to shut down the businesses around it due to safety concerns I.E. traffic or fuel storage or noise abatement ETC. The only reason this is even on the news is because it relates to fire arms and is a hot button topic.

  • Guest 87 says:

    Really? That’s more than double the county regulations. So why the fuss? What does a bullet ricocheting of a tree sound like? Do bullets ricochet of a tree? Was the range open during an approaching hurricane? Does the gentleman or his wife have the bullet? Or maybe they saw the bullet. What caliber was it? All kinds of things are blowing around before and after storms. Yet they are positive his wife “heard” a bullet ricochet off a tree. His words. Of course the only possible solution is that the mysterious rounds we keep hearing about came from that specific range, not another range or private property. Correct? Lots of extreme rhetoric and accusations with no evidence, no proof, no investigation. Something sure stinks.

  • Guest 43 says:

    So, bullets stop at 500 feet because that is what the regulations say? Maybe you should check out some ballistic charts.

    Oh wait, here’s some information:


    And here’s a site with more charts a fewer words, so it might be easier to understand:


    Just to further clarify, these distances are given in yards. All of the homes in this neighborhood are well within the calculated maximum range for all handgun ammunition.

    But, there’s more. Let’s talk about rifles. Rifles have maximum EFFECTIVE distances well within the 400 yard distance that this home is located. Oh, they don’t fire rifles on that range? Let me direct you to this YouTube video filmed by the property owners showing them firing high powered rifles on the property:


    I also like the way the story makes it appear the range is in the middle of nowhere. Not the case. It’s less than 450 ft from the busy highway, and by the owner’s own admission, these are novices firing on the range. So, what happens when one of these novice shooters has even a handgun recoil on them and pulls their aim up and they fire again? Where is that bullet going?

    But, I mean, I guess, we can expect the bullets to stop at 500 ft because that’s what the regulations say.

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