Horry County passes law regulating outdoor shooting ranges

Horry County now has a law on the books to regulate outdoor shooting ranges. County Council approved the ordinance Tuesday.

Supporters say allowing outdoor gun ranges is another step the county can take to help attract more firearms manufacturers, but there's another business segment that could also benefit from shooting ranges and it's the biggest industry on the Grand Strand.

Ted Gragg, who owns the Myrtle Beach Indoor shooting range was a consultant to help the county write an ordinance regulating outdoor ranges.

Gragg says outdoor gun ranges can be a boon for sports tourism.

"The shooting industry has traveling participants in shooting just like you do in golf. It's an extremely volatile and wipe open market. We're very fortunate to be a part of it," Gragg said.

County Council started working on a shooting range ordinance a year ago, after getting a number of requests from people who wanted to open a gun range.

The result is a law that sets up building standards and zoning limitations, so gun enthusiasts can have a place to shoot safely, besides their backyards.

"(The law) pulls everything together so that it can be done properly and it can be as least nuisance to the public as possible," said County Councilman Bob Grabowski.

Grabowski works for PTR Industries, the new firearms manufacturer in Horry County.

PTR has a bullet trap for testing weapons indoors, but Grabowski says an outdoor range would still be appealing for his company and other gun makers.

"I think that anything we can do such as a gun range would make us even that much more attractive to people in that industry."

Grabowski says two potential locations are being considered for public, county-owned ranges, including one right behind PTR's building in the Cool Springs Business Park near Aynor and the other on SC Highway 90, near the Solid Waste Authority.

No matter where they end up, Gragg says people will want to use outdoor ranges in Horry County.

"Weather's perfect, you couldn't ask for better weather, the people are favorable with it and industry is good here," Gragg said.

The county hasn't set aside any money for developing gun ranges, but Grabowski says there might be state or federal grants available.