The Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians want to build an outdoor gun range on tribal land. But some people living nearby have concerns about sound and safety.
The proposed 29 lane gun range would be on two-acres just off Highway 50, and near several homes, two schools and a church. Jamie Vincent-Arcangel lives in Cameron Park. Her 11-year-old daughter goes to a Montessori school not far from the proposed gun range.
"I am concerned about the noise when the kids are outside playing, even if they do something to help diffuse the noise,” said Vincent-Arcangel. “It's very disconcerting to have gun blasts going off all day when kids are outside at play. I don't want that to become the normal environment for my daughter and other students.”
Damon Tribble also has a daughter that attending the Montessori school. He helped organize a group of people who are against the location of the proposed gun range.
"We've got people who are staunch Second Amendment supporters, gun owners, love to shoot," said Tribble. "People who have built, run gun ranges in the past, so it is not at all about gun rights. We think a gun range would be a great idea for this area. In fact, there already is one about 15 minutes from where they're proposing this gun range."
Tribble, a web designer, has set up a website for people to discuss the gun range.
Tribble said the Tribe recently acquired the land and if the project was not on tribal property, it would likely not be approved under county laws and regulations.
"I think this is a larger issue than just this little stretch of road here in El Dorado County," said Tribble. "This land is not part of the original reservation. And if a tribe in this state can purchase land and put a project like this on it without any regard to the surrounding community, it sets a dangerous precedent."
The tribe recently presented its gun range proposal to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors - even though, as a sovereign nation, county approval for the project isn't needed.
Tribal Administrator Ernie Vargas said the tribe is conducting sound and other studies before it moves ahead with the project.
"We're going to actually shoot during different weather conditions,” said Vargas. “Because what we hear from the residents is ‘well, on one day you might not be able to hear it at the school but if the wind is blowing right or if it's cloudy, you know that sound's going to travel different’ and we understand that. So we're really going to take our time and try and shoot in these different environments to really see how the gun range may affect the community."
Vargas says it will likely be at least several months before sound tests and other studies are completed. He said the tribe will modify their plans if needed.
Vargas said before moving ahead with the project, the tribe will meet again with the Board of Supervisors and community groups.
"The tribe is a part of the community," said Vargas. "The tribe, through its partnership with El Dorado County, wants to do what's best for the county overall and be a good neighbor, because we live here too."
Vargas said the gun range will meet or exceed all federal standards for safety, environmental and occupational controls.
The Miwok tribe website has information posted about the proposal and Vargas encourages anyone with concerns to contact them.