WOODLAND, Wash. -- A Woodland man hopes to build a high-tech private gun range inside his garage. He’ll have to get approval from city leaders first, though.
Bill Dunlap has lived in his Woodland home on Horseshoe Lake since 2001. Throughout that time, he’s been an avid sharpshooter. In fact, Dunlap says he’s been shooting his entire life.
“I’ve shot BB guns and other firearms since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” he said.
In order to shoot at a range, Dunlap says he has to drive at least 30 minutes to Portland. He said he enjoys shooting at least once a week and there aren’t any ranges in Woodland.
“A lot of driving,” remarked Dunlap. “That’s why I’d like to have an indoor shooting range, target range, here at my home.”
Dunlap eventually got serious about the idea and started looking into building a range inside his large garage and shop next to his home. Dunlap says he’d build a soundproof range built to National Rifle Association safety standards. A project like that would cost around $60,000, he said. The private range would be for Dunlap’s family and friends.
However, Woodland city law doesn’t allow such a range inside a residential zone. Dunlap then reached out to city leaders to see if city code could be amended to allow the range he wanted to build. Currently, Woodland City Council is looking at an ordinance that would change the law to allow regulated indoor shooting ranges in residential areas.
Not everyone is on board with the idea. One neighbor who lives next to Dunlap voiced his opposition to the proposal in a letter addressed to the city.
“We were shocked when we heard the news and were deeply concerned about the safety of our two children, one 5 years old and the other 2 years old,” wrote the neighbor. “Noise and environmental safety are a concern of ours as well.”
“You won’t be able to hear it outside,” said Dunlap. He says the range would be properly designed and built.
Dunlap said he wants to go about building the range the right way.
“I think that will be a thing that makes me very happy. Because I know I’ll be able to do it in my own environment that’s controlled. That I know is safe. And I’m looking very forward to that,” he said.
The ordinance to allow indoor gun ranges like Dunlap’s proposed range is currently undergoing a third party review. Dunlap says he’s anxiously hoping to get the green light soon.
“I’m ready to build. I’m ready to go."