Supreme Court to hear Farragut case

Shooting range has been closed since February 2007

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Idaho Fish and Game will go before the Idaho Supreme Court on Wednesday to argue that the Farragut Shooting Range deserves to reopen.

There is heavy demand for the injunction on the range to be lifted, said Dave Leptich, habitat specialist with Fish and Game.

"I get calls almost weekly, asking when it will be open," Leptich said. "There's a high degree of support."

Fish and Game is appealing a district judge's decision that the agency's $260,000 in safety improvements to the range are not adequate to lift the nearly 6-year injunction on the facility.

The injunction stems from a lawsuit filed by concerned Bayview residents, comprising Citizens Against Range Expansion, worried about stray bullets hitting their homes.

The injunction has been placed on the 190-acre shooting range since February 2007.

Leptich said he is convinced the new safety baffles, the lowered 100-yard-range and the additional berms ensure the range poses no risks.

"It's the safest range in Idaho," he said. "It's been built to meet and exceed classic engineering standards. I've had dozens of experienced shooters out there who can't believe the range isn't open."

The agency's attorney, Kathleen Trever, has said the range improvements meet the standard set by judge John Mitchell to open the range to 500 shooters a year. His decision not to lift the injunction last year was inconsistent with that standard, according to Trever.

But attorney Harvey Richman, representing CARE members with attorney Scott Reed, isn't impressed by Fish and Game's argument.

Ricochets still pose a threat on the range, Richman contended.

"I think Judge Mitchell was clear, he used plain language," Richman said. "He said no bullets over the backstop, and what he meant by that was no bullets over the backstop."

If any bullets are escaping, he added, "It's not safe."

The hearing is scheduled for 8:40 a.m. in the courthouse on Garden Avenue in Coeur d'Alene.

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