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Yavapai County, land owner at odds over gun range

PRESCOTT, Ariz. -- Yavapai County and one of its residents are at odds over his private shooting range in a rural area.

Some neighbors say they're bothered by the crack of gunfire from Brad DeSaye's 380-acre ranch and fear their property values may drop. County officials say the range violates a zoning ordinance.

Steve Mauk, county Development Services director, said the case is a land use question, not a Second Amendment question.

``Nobody is saying he can't bear arms,'' Mauk said. ``He just can't set up a shooting range in a residential neighborhood.''

Attorney Alex Vakula and another lawyer for DeSaye said the county hasn't explained how the activity on DeSaye's property constitutes a gun range, something that isn't defined in the county's zoning ordinances.

``Mr. DeSaye follows all commonly accepted practices for safe shooting,'' Vakula said.

Aerial photos of DeSaye's property, the Headhunter Ranch, show what appear to be multiple types of shooting ranges on the property located northwest of Prescott, The Daily Courier reported.

A National Rifle Association representative says it would set a ``very bad precedent for the rest of Arizona'' if the county can shut down DeSaye's range.

Todd Rathner, an NRA national board member from Tucson, said the Second Amendment doesn't just apply to owning or carrying guns. ``You have to be able to use the gun and shoot the gun,'' he said.

Resident George Price said the gun range could lower property values and curb growth in the area.

``This is about responsible gun use and how a few bad actors can give gun owners a bad name,'' Price said.

A county hearing officer is scheduled to consider the zoning case on Nov. 12.

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