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Bullet Strikes Home, Gun Range Makes Changes

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AMARILLO, TX-  The Amarillo Rifle and Pistol Club is making safety upgrades to its shooting range after a local man found a bullet hole in his living room wall. 

The club on North Western Street in Potter County was unaware of the man's situation before NewsChannel 10 approached them for this story. But the club was already making changes designed to protect the surrounding neighborhood and club members.

Mickey Hayes lives north of the range, in the direction shooters fire their weapons. November 27, Hayes came home to find a bullet that went through his living room wall, and stopped after shattering a mirror in his bathroom.

 "Somebody is fixing to get shot out here," said Hayes. "And it's because of ricochets, I know it is. You can stand outside in the yard here and hear them whistle by."

 Hayes said Potter County Sheriff's deputies came to pick up the bullet, but said there was not much they could do.

 "The problem is proving where the shot was fired from," Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said. "There's no way to prove the bullet came from the shooting range."

 The bullet that went into Hayes' home came from a rifle and likely was not shot from the street in front of his home, because of the way the bullet entered the house.

Jeff Tormey from the Amarillo Gun Club said Hayes' incident happened just one week before the club installed new safety features on the rifle range that faces his house.

"We are constantly looking at things like this as a means of protecting the neighborhood and protecting our members," Tormey said.

Member fees paid for the $40,000 renovation to the range. It includes concrete tunnels that make it impossible for a bullet to go past the farthest berm on the edge of the property.

Tormey says for the safety upgrades to work, club members must follow the rules while at the range.

"We will take disciplinary action," Tormey said. "We have guidelines and can eject people from the club. We've done it in the past and will do so again if it ever becomes necessary."

The upgrades to the safety of the facility are completely voluntary. There is no law requiring gun ranges to make the safety upgrades.

Tormey said the club had a consultant come to the range in 2001, and give a list of changes to make in order to have a safe facility. Since then, more than $150,000 of upgrades have been made.

Tormey said the club is open to any suggestions from the surrounding neighbors.

"If somebody has a problem, they can contact us. We take these complaints very seriously," Tormey said. "We have mechanisms in place where we can track what was going on at the range, and we can see if the timelines match up with someone says happened."

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