Midtown gun range on hold after opponents cite 1984 law

Photo: Rob Barrett Photography via Flickr

Photo: Rob Barrett Photography via Flickr

A proposal to build an indoor shooting range and gun store in Midtown Kingston is in limbo after opponents of the plan turned up a 1984 law which forbids, in most cases, the discharge of firearms within city limits. City planner Suzanne Cahill said this week that the proposal by Dr. Adam Soyer to convert his former medical practice at 90 Prince Street into an indoor shooting range, gun shop and firearms education center had been tabled by the planning board.

“Everything is in abeyance until [Soyer and his partners] determine how they want to pursue this issue with the city code,” said Cahill.

The proposal by Safeshoot LLC would convert the former medical practice into a five-lane 50-foot indoor shooting range outfitted with noise abatement panels, steel-lined masonry and a lead-filtering ventilation system. The range would also employ a full-time safety officer. Other areas of the building would feature a gun shop and classroom space for conducting mandatory safety training for pistol -permit license applicants.


Use of the shooting range would be limited to current pistol permitholders.  In an application to the planning board filed in September, Soyer noted increased public demand for pistol permits and a lack of local facilities offering classroom and live-fire instruction. “There is a significant need for present and future pistol-permit licensees to maintain their proficiency and/or develop the necessary skills to carry their firearms,” Soyer wrote in the application.

At a December public hearing on the issue, dozens of people spoke for and against the proposal. Opponents argued that the range would endanger safety and depress property values in a neighborhood struggling with revitalization. The Kingston school board passed a resolution opposing the plan on the grounds that it could pose a threat to student safety at nearby Kingston High School.

On the other side, sheriff’s chief civil officer John McGovern, who is in charge of vetting pistol permit applications for Ulster County residents, said the shooting range would be a benefit both to local law enforcement and civilian permitholders.

Ulster County legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky made what may be the decisive argument of the issue, citing a 1984 amendment to the city code that barred the discharge of firearms in city limits except in cases of self-defense or by police officers in the line of duty. Some have mentioned that a car gun safe should be recommended for those driving with the weapon. In a follow-up meeting in January, planning board members voted to table the application until Soyer showed how he planned to address the 1984 law.

Cahill said both the board and the planning office had been unaware of the no-shooting law since it fell within the city code and not the town’s zoning and planning regulations, which typically guide board decisions.

There are 4 comments

  1. nom de plume

    What town is Cahill referring to as the property is in the City?

    “Cahill said both the board and the planning office had been unaware of the no-shooting law since it fell within the city code and not the town’s zoning and planning regulations, which typically guide board decisions.”

  2. TheRedDogParty

    I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that the spirit of the 1984 law is a prohibition of firearms being discharged generally in the environment. Certified shooting ranges are exempt.

    Where do the police go to re-certify?

    While I don’t own a firearm, and have no plans to acquire one, I would like to go through the process of obtaining a license (it’s called putting yourself in someone else’s shoes). Is there a place within Ulster or Dutchess Counties that offers such a program?

    1. GrizG

      The first step in getting a pistol permit is picking up an application from the Sheriff’s department. That pile of paper spells out the application process (e.g., fingerprints, background checks, character references, safety class, fees, etc.) The safety class is classroom only, no handguns are handled as it is against state law for unlicensed adults to handle handguns. After that, if you decide you want to handle handguns for the experience, you should take one or more classes that include range time. There are well qualified certified instructors in the area that can provide you with this training. Note that the proposed range has instruction as one of its business purposes.

  3. nopolitics

    I venture to opine the author of this article misquoted in using the word “town”. If so, I bet Jesse is saying “Oh, shoot!”, right now…but I could be wrong.
    The alternative of course is that Ms. Cahill misspoke. Either way, obviously the word doesn’t apply to this article.

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