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Nye County eyeing public shooting range options

Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen has initiated a crucial step in the effort to bring the first-ever county-owned public shooting range to the Pahrump Valley, posing an agenda item that could trigger forward movement on the longstanding concept.

With a unanimous vote in favor of the item, county staff is now tasked with bringing forward figures outlining the costs that would be associated with establishing a public shooting range at one of various locations throughout the valley so as to identify the most likely location for such a project.

Schinhofen explained in an interview that the county has been striving toward opening a public shooting range for many, many years.

“We’ve never let this idea go, we’ve been working on getting land for a range for a very long time but now it’s really time to find out what the costs are going to be and how we are going to do it,” he stated. Schinhofen’s item directed county staff to draft options for the Nye County Commission so they can review them and decide what is best for the community.

Initially, Nye County’s focus had been squarely centered on a site on the far western side of the valley, where Bell Vista Avenue turns into Bell Vista Road and curves northward. This is a location that residents and visitors have been using for recreational shooting purposes for decades.

“We have been working for 19 years to get the Bell Vista site land from the BLM, that was our plan, to build a range once we got that property,” Schinhofen said. “The Bell Vista site is notorious for people bringing out old TVs and appliances, littering up the place and making a big mess.” With a public shooting range established, the area would be supervised and that problem would be largely eliminated.

However, with the many complexities that come with acquiring Bureau of Land Management property, Schinhofen said he felt the county’s options should be widened to include other possible locations for a public range too.

“I have asked staff to bring forward the costs if we were to use 10 acres of the about 40 acres that we have up there by the sheriff’s training site, on Mesquite Avenue; to use the Bell Vista site, or to use land above a gravel pit on the fan that is also owned by the BLM, which Butch (commissioner Borasky) threw in as well,” Schinhofen said.

Borasky noted that the Nye County Planning Department was currently working on contacting the BLM about the gravel pit site and noted that particular option could be privately funded.

“We need to see what it would cost to construct one and the cost to manage one. You know, when people are out there, there has to be someone in charge,” Schinhofen continued. “And having a rangemaster would be a positive thing, making sure people know how to properly use their guns and making sure everything is safeguarded. For public safety and those who want to enjoy their guns, that is why I brought it forward. I am just trying to be responsive to the community’s concerns and wishes.”

During the commission’s April 3 meeting in which the item was addressed, local contractor Debra Strickland for one, was not shy about sharing her enthusiasm for a public shooting range.

“In the room, I’d like to ask those who are for a Nye County public shooting range being established to please stand,” Strickland, who is running against Schinhofen in the Republican Primary for the Nye County Commission District 5 seat, said.

Several meeting attendees rose to their feet in response. She indicated the group behind her and stated, “I think we have a great showing here, I think you all are on the right track… Let’s go guys! Good job!”

Strickland also offered to help with the process to draw up costs if the county would like her assistance.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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