City Council to consider regulating Atlanta’s gun ranges

Gun range owner says ordinance unfairly targets his new Loring Heights location


  • Stoddard’s Guns

A new Atlanta City Council measure could place heavy restrictions on shooting ranges inside the city limits.

The proposed ordinance, citing the “best interest of the public safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Atlanta,” would amend current city codes by requiring gun range owners to apply for a permit to operate in the same way that pawn shops and package stores must do every year. The ordinance would also ban shooting galleries from being located within 800 feet of homes, schools, parks, recreational facilities, libraries, places of religious worship, hospitals, and day cares.

Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean tells CL the new ordinance came about after she had heard about a proposed gun range in her district, the Westside neighborhood she represents. She was surprised about the lack of safety buffers in place and decided to revisit the current process because it “hasn’t been looked at for decades.”

Stoddard’s Range and Guns co-owner Michael Halbriech, who last month revealed plans to open a new location on Bishop Street, questions the timing of ordinance. He thinks that it’s a “classic ‘Not In My Backyard’ move” demanded by a small group of residents.

“For this to be raised immediately on the heels of us filing our special administrative permit with the city, we’ve reached the conclusion that while the proposed amendements affect the entire city, the impetus for it at this moment in time was to impact our property,” Halbriech tells CL.

Halbriech thinks that instead of placing shooting ranges under the watch of the city’s license review board, the changes should be handled through the zoning process. He says that the amendments place unfair restrictions on business owners already complying with city codes.