Range Fights For Its Life As Neighbors Try To Shut It Down

If you want to get firearm training on a budget, you may not be able to take a face-to-face class with an instructor. Those are expensive, unfortunately. So, a lot of people opt to watch videos. Of course, there are issues with this method, too, but at least you get some training and learn some skills you can then take to the range.

Yet one of the best-known names out there for training videos is Panteao.

Panteao has a ton of videos on all manner of weapons handling as well as a handful of other neat skills. Most are filmed at Panteao’s own range, apparently, and now it looks like that range has come under fire.

Last month Swansea resident Susan Smith was standing on her property “when a bullet pierced the air approximately five feet from me,” Smith said in a lawsuit filed this week in Lexington County state court.

“The sound of a passing high-powered bullet has an unmistakable and unique sound — a high pitched ‘zing,’ ” she wrote in an affidavit attached to the lawsuit, in which she is one of 10 plaintiffs suing Panteao Sportsman’s Club, a 76-acre outdoor collection of ranges for pistols, rifles and shotguns, over “rogue bullets” and a “warzone” atmosphere marked by “penetrating, reverberating gunfire and blasts.”

“I was terrified,” Smith wrote, adding she ‘” immediately took cover in fear behind a large tree to try to shield myself from being killed by a stray bullet.”

Five feet from her, she says. What, did she measure it?

Honestly, that tidbit makes me seriously doubt what she’s saying. However, Smith isn’t alone. Others are making similar claims.

“I have been a gun owner for most of my life and own in excess of 20 guns, including handguns, long rifles, shotguns and an AR-15,” said Kinard Pound, who runs a landscaping business and has spent his whole life in the Gaston-Swansea area.

“But now I am afraid for my family’s safety when we visit my parents’ home when the Panteao Sportsman’s Club is open,” wrote Pound, who has five children. Once, he and his father were working outside when the range was open and “we suddenly heard bullets zipping through the trees above our heads.” he wrote.

Needless to say, gun range owner Fernando Coelho disagrees with this assessment.

He argues that it can’t be from his range.

“Our primary concern is making sure the rounds — the bullets — are staying within the property and those that are using our property are using it in a safe manner,” Coelho said. “We have been for the past five years progressively spending money to improve this facility, both for the users, and for the surrounding neighbors.”

Coelho said when he’s gotten complaints about stray bullets, he has checked his shooters and ranges and determined it was “physically impossible” that any errant bullets in the area were coming from his range. In some cases, what sounds like a bullet passing near a house might in fact be an echo from his range, he said.

There is only one entrance to the range, and it is separated from the road by some 150 yards of forest. Range officers are on site, he said. His staff checks drivers’ licenses to ascertain identities and goes over the safety rules with patrons and shows them the various shooting bays.

The Panteao ranges are located in rolling, almost hilly, wooded country side. Across the road from the range less than half a mile away is another outdoor range at the Buck and Boar Hunting Lodge, and that is also a source of gunfire, Coelho said.

That’s interesting to me.

I’ve watched some of Panteao’s videos. The ranges all seem to be surrounded by heavy woods that, in addition to the backstops, would reduce the likelihood of rounds going astray.

Especially if there’s another range nearby.

So what’s going on here? Coelho argues his range has been there for a decade but has become more visible as his company’s market share has increased. That’s probably true. It also makes them more of a target.

Oh, I know some of the plaintiffs claim they own guns, but that doesn’t preclude them from being gun grabbers themselves. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a firearm, for crying out loud.

My guess–and it’s just a guess–is that Panteao is scaring the neighbors because they’re teaching people who to use scary-looking rifles. Maybe the other range is immune from this because they’re a hunting range, not one teaching people how to defend their lives. Of course, that’s just a supposition on my part.

What it does look like, though, is that this has little to do with supposed rounds flying–something that few ranges would allow to happen without coming down hard on those responsible–and more to do with Panteao “freaking the norms.”

The problem is, this is going to be expensive for them. Looks like a hell of an excuse to go and spend some money with them.