Amarillo City Council has given final approval to an ordinance amendment clearing the way for indoor shooting ranges in the city.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, council members heard the second and final reading of Ordinance 7724, which would allow for specific-use permits establishing the indoor shooting venues. Shortly after the item was broached on the agenda, the council voted 4-0 in favor of the measure.
Officials said the ordinance amendment stemmed from an applicant approaching the city’s planning department with the desire to build an indoor shooting range, but upon further review, the department recognized existing ordinances governing shooting ranges did not apply to indoor facilities. City Planner Sherry Bailey previously said the department developed the definition for the indoor shooting range with the intent of ensuring all of the guidelines and industry standards would be covered.
Prior to addressing the indoor shooting range item on Tuesday, for a second consecutive week a resident expressed concerns over a portion of the amended ordinance’s language.
“I was part of the March for Our Lives on Saturday,” said Edith DiTommaso. “And I would like to thank our very brave and wonderful youth who stood by their principles and beliefs with their actions. I continue to raise my objection to the portion of the ordinance that it references - and other firearms. I would like to see AK-47s, AR-15s and bump stocks excluded from use. These should all be excluded from the indoor shooting range.”
March for Our Lives was a student-led demonstration in support of tighter gun control that took place on Saturday at various sites across the U.S.
Council member Elaine Hays shared thoughts regarding her support of the ordinance amendment.
“I just wanted to acknowledge and respond to Mrs. DiTommaso’s concerns,” she said. “Looking at this construction, my perspective on this is building the shooting range at the codes required, the interior will be one of the safest places to actually discharge weapons and test for accuracy. I do not view them (AK-47s, AR-15s) as an additional safety risk related to the construction of the facility.”
DiTommaso said she is disappointed in the inaction on the exceptions she was seeking.
“I’m not happy about it, but I pick my fights when I can,” she said. “I realize I can’t win all of my battles, but I would have felt terrible if I didn’t voice my concerns and share with them what I believed to be a critical portion of the language that needed to be tweaked.”