Fire away, judge says

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The judge who issued a “temporary restraining order” that appeared to limit shooting at the Founders Ranch near Edgewood has clarified the original document, saying it was erroneously titled and inadvertently signed and issued.

District Judge Edmund Kase III said the order is actually one “to show cause” and not intended to restrict shooting or other business activities at the ranch.

Several neighbors of the 480-acre Founders Ranch, which is located in the far northwest corner of Torrance County, have requested the court to enjoin the Single Action Shooting Society, which owns the property, from operating a shotgun range there.

The plaintiffs contend that shooting is loud, goes on continuously, disrupts their peace of mind and well being, and violates a conditional use permit the county awarded to SASS in 2004.

SASS says the 2004 permit was issued without limitation on shooting at the ranch. In an affidavit filed with the court, Misty Miller, the society’s CEO, said Founders Ranch has consistently upheld all permit conditions.

In his April 15 clarification order, Kase said SASS “is in no way restrained by the subject (original) order from conducting its normal and customary business activities, including the use of firearms, at the Founder’s Ranch property until further order of the court.”

Santa Fe attorney Gary Friedman, who represents SASS in the matter, requested the clarification. In his request, Friedman said “current shooting activities … are legally permitted’ under the permit. He described the plaintiffs as “a small group of vocal residents” and noted that the county’s Planning and Zoning director, Steve Guetschow, has found that the noise generated by the shooting “is about the same as normal conversational level.”

One of the listed plaintiffs in the case, Brian Kaeseman, said he found the development “disheartening,” particularly Guetschow’s letter to Kase, “after the county found in our favor.” He was referring to the County Commission’s denial in February of a new permit SASS had requested that would have allowed a significant expansion of its Founders Ranch operations.

Another plaintiff, Billie Mitchell, said she was upset upon learning of the judge’s clarification.
— This article appeared on page B01 of the Albuquerque Journal

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