Lake County Shooting Range Gets Flamethrowers But Not Longer Hours

FLORIDA’S LAKE COUNTY — On Tuesday, the operators of a shooting range in Lake County that has been the subject of controversy for years were granted authorization to fire flamethrowers on the premises. Since 2018, neighbors of the Ares Training Center, located off Treasure Island Avenue in North Leesburg, have raised worry over huge gatherings and continuous loud gunshots at the facility.

In 2019, it was granted a conditional use permit, which limited what people could do and when they could do it. Ares operators asked the Lake County Board of Commissioners for authorization to operate more days, for longer hours, and to employ flamethrowers again on Tuesday. Ares Manager Colin Johnson said, “We’re simply wanting to obtain some more hours, just to be a little more competitive with the other gun ranges in the region.”

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Neighbors who opposed the range in 2019 were dissatisfied with the request. “It’s the noise,” remarked Louise Crews, a homeowner. “Because I hear it, I agree with my neighbors on that.” It’s a disaster.”The majority of Ares’ requested improvements were denied by Lake County Commissioners, who only permitted the use of flamethrowers after hours of public comment and testimony.

While some commissioners were concerned about fire safety, others reasoned that the flamethrowers wouldn’t add to the noise that the majority of neighbors complained about. “At the very least, we know there’s a deadline,” Crews added. “There’s a time limit, and I believe the majority of us are delighted with what transpired today.

“Despite the fact that they didn’t get most of their demands, Johnson said they weren’t dissatisfied with the outcome, given how frequently they get requests to fire flamethrowers. Johnson says they’re delighted to be able to do so now.

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