Guns came first

  Dear HCN,

This is regarding your "Heard around the West" article about the closure of the Tucson Rod & Gun Club rifle range in Sabino Canyon (HCN, 3/16/98). I am a loyal HCN reader and also an avid hunter and shooter. During the late "70s through the mid-'80s, I spent many hours at the Sabino Canyon range. At that time, it was arguably one of the safest, most pleasant, most well-thought-out and well-managed shooting ranges in the state.

If it is now considered "noisy and potentially dangerous," it's because the greedy, short-sighted real estate developers and agents have pushed the city council and Forest Service to allow development right up to the boundary of the buffer zone needed to maintain the integrity of the impact area. The intended consequence, of course, is to have this wonderful public facility declared a social menace and public health hazard. This will then render this small patch of highly lucrative and relatively undisturbed Upper Sonoran Desert "safe," thus ensuring the proliferation of strip malls and Circle Ks, gas stations and hamburger joints.

It will also impose an enormous hardship on thousands of responsible, ethical and safety-conscious shooters and sportsmen, and will result in willy-nilly plinking on adjacent vacant and open land. I can assure you that at-large, unrestricted shooting adjacent to residential areas, by an unsupervised public, with inadequate or nonexistent backstops, will fulfill your description of "noisy and dangerous' in spades.

I am no big fan of Idaho Republican Rep. Helen Chenoweth, but the shooting range was there first. In this case, she is right on the money.

Steven Spearman

Boulder City, Nevada