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Oklahoma City water utilities trust bans lead shot from shooting range

The Water Utilities Trust voted Tuesday to ban lead shot from a shooting range, a move that could force the range owner out of business.
by William Crum Published: April 17, 2013

The Water Utilities Trust voted Tuesday to forbid lead shot at a sport shooting range on public land in southeast Oklahoma City, a move that could lead the owner to shutter the business.

“I can't afford to do it without lead. The shooters won't come,” said Dave Martin, owner of Quail Ridge Sporting Clays.

Trust members were considering a proposal to relocate the range from SE 149 Street, where it opened in February 2012 on land in the West Elm Creek Reservation.

The proposed new site, on SE 119 Street, has drawn opposition from people who live about a mile away. About 20 opponents were at the Water Utility Trust's meeting, ready to voice their concerns about noise, lead shot and other issues.

The original decision to relocate the range followed protests from residents living near the current site, where Martin had a 10-year lease.

He is now on a month-to-month lease pending a decision on where, or whether, to relocate the business.

The vote means Martin must decide whether to submit a new lease specifying that only steel shot can be used by his customers, who take part in shotgun sports including trap shooting that simulate bird hunting.

Shotgun sports shooters prefer lead shot. They have concerns about accuracy and about the potential for damage to their guns from steel.

Martin derives a financial advantage from leasing the public land because his range is only minutes from downtown Oklahoma City. He said after the vote that he wasn't ready to say what he would do.

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by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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