Willington, East Windsor gun range opponents take aim at hearing - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Willington, East Windsor gun range opponents take aim at hearing in Hartford

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Residents from Willington and East Windsor continue to shoot down a plan for a proposed gun range in their towns.

On Monday, they were taking aim at the capitol where a hearing is being held at the Legislative Office Building. Dozens of people filled the room for the hearing.

Most of the people planning to ride a "freedom bus" from Willington up to Hartford said they're against the proposed range.

In the past, hundreds of people have packed meetings in hopes of keeping the state police gun range and training facility out of their towns.

Troopers have said their current facility in Simsbury is more than 60 years old, is badly outdated and has flooding problems.

However, there are some in Willington who welcome the state police proposal.

"It would bring business into the town [and] provide jobs with construction," said Phil Monty, Willington.

It's been clear, though, that most people who've attended the meetings feel differently.

"I've spent four years in a combat zone," said Dave Tharp, Willington. "I think I've heard enough gun fire for one life."

East Windsor officials said they also planned on attending Tuesday's hearing.

"I live about a mile from the proposed site so I'm going to be hearing gunfire everyday, seven days, and it's going to decrease the value of my home," said Michael Scalzo, of East Windsor.

Police said they understand the concerns.

"We absolutely understand their concerns and one thing we want to make clear, what we've been trying to make clear throughout this process, (is that) we're still very early in the process," said Connecticut State Police Lt. Marc Petruzzi. "The next step in this process would be full environmental impact evaluation."

One place considered for troopers is sharing East Haven's National Guard facility. Major General Thaddeus Martin gave the first piece of testimony, and spoke of how costly it is to use for outside groups like troopers, and how limited in space and capabilities it is.

No decisions were made on Monday.

There is no timetable for environmental studies. The project itself could still be years from coming to fruition.

The state said other sites are now being considered, but at this point none are as viable as Willington or East Windsor.

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