The Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (KRRC) has been a landmark along Seabeck Highway in Kitsap County, Wash., since 1926. Its website url is gunsafety.org, reflective of a long record of safe activity. It isn’t an activist organization, just a family-friendly community shooting range serving the public.
On September 8, 2010, Kitsap County prosecutor Russ Hauge, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against KRRC, alleging that it is a public nuisance which violates city and county ordinances. The complaint asserts that KRRC illegally allows large caliber and automatic weapons fire, uses explosives as targets, allows firing late into the evening (10 p.m.), and bulldozed wetlands to build more firing lanes. Hauge asked the court for an injunction to shut the gun range down until the club completes a safety evaluation and submits it for court review.
KRRC Executive Officer Marcus Carter says the lawsuit is groundless. Many believe it is motivated by a personal vendetta against him. His range is exempt from newer regulations, having been “grandfathered in” as an exception to zoning laws by the County in 1993. KRRC has obtained permits necessary for construction of several improvements and has tested nearby water sources for contamination. Neighbors complaining about noise moved into the area knowing a gun club was located nearby. There hasn’t been a single occurrence of a stray bullet injuring a neighbor.
Prosecutors admit that the final straw leading them to file the lawsuit against KRRC and Carter’s wife last month was a complaint from a man with powerful connections who had bought a home near the range. Gary Koon, who represents Central Kitsap Citizens 4 Safe and Quiet Neighborhoods, is a former Marine infantry officer employed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor base as a civilian deputy operations officer for the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion. Notably, CK Citizens 4 Safe and Quiet Neighborhoods does not have a website and appears to have been formed specifically by a few neighbors intent on shutting the club down due to noise.