Another Northampton County Club in Trouble

I wrote not long ago about Stockerton Rod and Gun Club being in trouble over accusations that rounds were leaving the range. Now it seems another ther club in the area is coming under scrutiny over errant rounds. This time it’s Belfast Edelman Sportsman Association. The local news station reports:

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Not all complaints against gun ranges represent anti-gun or NIMBY sentiment. People who build or buy houses next to ranges should expect to live with noise, but bullets leaving a range at dangerous velocities and trajectories are a different beast entirely. The setup of Belfast Edelman looks similar to Stockerton. I decided to Google the club’s location, start up street view, and “drive” down the road downrange of the club. Sure enough, I found the house in this report right where I worried I’d find it:


She’s about 1000 yards downrange, which is close enough for bullets to strike her house at sufficient velocity to maim or kill. A 7.62x51mm (.308 Win) round would still be traveling in excess of 1000ft/sec at that range, and with about the muzzle energy of 425ft-lb. This woman isn’t exaggerating. If she’s being hit by the kinds of rounds typically used for hunting, it is as big a deal as if someone fired a 9mm into her house from the street.

The club made the right decision to close their range. Hopefully they have the funds to make needed safety improvements. If you’re ever involved in a club that ends up in a situation like this, NRA does offer range consulting to clubs in trouble. They can also offer grants and whatnot to make the needed safety improvements so that struggling clubs can stay open. I’m very sympathetic to clubs that end up in this kind of trouble, but residents do have a right to expect clubs will maintain safety standards such that rounds will not leave the range in a dangerous manner such as this.

6 Responses to “Another Northampton County Club in Trouble”

  1. stephana says:

    We had an incident last year and the homeowner called the cops, news crews etc. Upon investigation her house is behind the firing lines, about 1/4 of a mile away. The bullet hole in her house had powder residue. It finally came out that she didn’t like the noise. Her neighbor came clean, he shot the house with a .38. The range was opened in 1957, her house was built in 1998. The judges just laugh at noise complaints, the range hours are 9 to 1/2 hour before sundown or 8pm, ranges opens after 12 on sundays.

  2. For years these clubs were circled by open space or farm lands that could have be bought for a few hundred dollars an acre and would have generated farm lease revenue or timber income. Many clubs opted not to buy land in 60’s and 70’s and they kept dues low, as the still do today.

    So now we end up with people building in the line of fire, the clubs unable to grow, and many clubs lacking the funds needed to make improvements. It was better to have $10/yr dues so old Ernie could afford to sit at the club bar and drink $.25 pints.

    I belong to a club that’s in the same situation after a land swap with a builder that gave the club more land that could not be built on but now they have houses visible from the rifle firing line – like $400K+ homes occupied by people who have the connections and resources to cause a lot of pain.

  3. asdf says:

    New construction should never be allowed in the line of fire of any gun club.

    Problem solved.

    • lucusloc says:

      Problem is that infringes on the rights of the people that own that property. The range should be responsible to ensure that rounds do not leave their property. That way everyone gets to exercise their rights equally.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’ll have to disagree with you on this one, asdf. It’s your responsibility as a property owner not to defile another’s property. Even if it was coming down in a cornfield, it’s still a problem if the farmer complains about it.

      • Arnie says:

        Agree. A few years ago our “club” met at a farmstead where we shot down into a deep draw that ran through the acreage. We had done this for several prior years without incident, but on this occasion a .50 BMG ricocheted off a buried stone and flew up into a neighbor’s cornfield a half-mile away and 45 degrees to starboard. Unknown to us, the neighboring farmer and his son had been at the same moment working on their irrigation pivot hidden from us by a tree row and heard the bullet whiz overhead. We immediately shutdown the shoot for the day when the neighbor reported to us (he was gracious but understandably shaken). We have since made accommodations to preclude further such incidents. We were VERY fortunate that day – it could have been very bad.