The owner of a proposed gun range squared off with some concerned residents at an Atlanta City Council meeting on Monday. The proposed gun range would be built in an old warehouse near Atlantic Station.
Michael Halbreich sees potential in the large vacant building on Bishop Street and said the gun range would be safe.
"This is an enclosed shooting gallery. It is a secure property and a secured building. We do not permit children who are unaccompanied in the building. You've got to be 18 to be able use a shooting gallery," said Halbreich.
City councilmember Yolanda Adrean said concerns from residents prompted her to introduce a bill that would prevent gun ranges near a residential area.
"Once you open an indoor shooting range, you also, by federal law, would have permission to sell guns. I can't do anything about that, that's a federal law. I just think businesses like that have a place in the city but not in a backyard," Adrean said.
Adrean insisted that she doesn't have an issue with gun ranges.
"I have nothing against gun ranges. Listen, it's legal in America to own a gun, and if you choose to have a gun, it would be a good idea to learn how to use it properly. So I'm not against his business or a business. I just want to make it a happy compromise between businesses and families," she said.
Halbreich said that the legislation singles him out.
"There's nobody else who has made an application, there's nobody else who is in the process, it's just us," Halbreich said.
Despite the city council agreeing to keep gun ranges several hundred feet from neighborhoods, Halbreich says he's moving ahead with his store because he has all of the permits.
Some people who work in the area said they are fine with the gun range.
"I think it's a great idea, with the rate that crime is increasing. People have more of an opportunity to protect themselves and come to a facility where they can properly handle hand guns," said Janaya Davis, who works in the neighborhood.
Halbreich said that he is grandfathered in, so he doesn't believe his business is directly affected by the council's vote. However, he said that the decision made will ultimately prove to be bad for business.
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