Tyrone residents sue over proposed gun shop, shooting range

A group of Tyrone residents has fired back against town officials' decision to put a proposed gun shop and shooting range in a shopping center adjacent to a 350-home subdivision.

Concerned Citizens of Tyrone filed a lawsuit Monday in Fayette County Superior Court seeking to stop the South Atlanta Gun Club from moving into Southampton Village, a shopping center on Ga. 74 in the northwestern corner of Fayette County. The club's owner is Rusty Morris, who owns a gun shop in Newnan.

The 14-page lawsuit says residents oppose the location because it is only close to homes. It also says the proposed gun shop and shooting range pose a potential environmental threat and could affect their property values, said Wayne Kendall, the East Point attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of a business owner and nine homeowners in the Southampton subdivision.

Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial said Wednesday that he has not had a chance to review the lawsuit but hopes to do so by Thursday's 7 p.m. Town Council meeting. He said he was aware some people were unhappy with the council's decision last month.

"It doesn't surprise me," he said of the lawsuit. "It disappoints me that there would be people opposed to a lawful business."

Dial disputed claims that the proposed business will be close to homes.

"There is a strip of land owned by the town that separates the gun shop, shooting range and shopping plaza from the subdivision," Dial said.

Dial said the council "did a great deal of research" on the subject and takes the concerns of its residents seriously.

"We’re concerned first and foremost for the law, and so it was the private property rights of this property owner and business owner to locate there," Dial said. "So we have to recognize private property rights first."

Concerned Citizens of Tyrone formed in March, shortly after the Town Council agreed to allow the gun shop and range.

Tyrone resident Eric Woods said he regularly attends council meetings and doesn't recall the gun shop proposal coming up before last month's vote.

"We’re not opposed to the shooting range per se," said Woods, a resident of the nearby Rivercrest subdivision and a member of Concerned Citizens of Tyrone. "We are opposed to the location of the range and gun shop."

Woods also said he's concerned because the council did not follow proper procedures regarding advertisement of the proposed business.

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