Abilene Gun Club in jeopardy if new city ordinance passes

Abilene Gun Club may be forced to close or move

ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene Gun Club may have to move locations if a new city ordinance passes.

The gun club, near Lake Fort Phantom, has been around for nearly 50 years.

However, the City of Abilene is considering a re-zoning of the area around the lake that could force the gun club to move.

The Fort Phantom Hill Lake Association wants the gun club out of there because of noise issues and because, they say, it will prevent future development in the area.

The gun club, which is located within the city limits - as is the lake - leases the land from the city.

If the City Council decides not to renew the lease, the gun club will have to move out.

"Well, it's very distasteful, really," said Sanders Bailey, weekday range master at the gun club. "It's a major blow, so the main concern is that they're going to destroy a fifty-year-old icon."

City planner Jon James said the Lake Association has been pressuring the city to end the Abilene Gun Club lease because of noise and they believe that will hinder development.

"We have received numerous complaints, mostly through the Lake Association, the neighborhood association that represents all the residents who live at the lake, has told us that it's a concern for their membership," James said.

When asked if the gun club receives complaints, Bailey said, "No. If they do [complain], I have not heard them."

Most of the ammunition fired at the club has been made of lead, which can lead to significant health hazards.

If the club does have to relocate, their lease with the city seems to indicate the club would be responsible for cleaning up the site.

"We can't," Bailey said. "We can't afford it. I just don't see that would be a feasible thing that we could do."

The gun club's lease expires at the end of August 2016.

Between now and then, a battle may be brewing between the club's 1,000 members and the city of Abilene.

The Abilene City Council sent the issue back to Planning and Zoning for more discussion with the Lake Association.

Planning and Zoning will again present the issue to the City Council and a public hearing will be held.

City officials said that probably won't happen until April.

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