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County approves creation of new, extended shooting range

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Concerns about livestock, pedestrian safety addressed

The McKinley County Board of Commissioners discussed the creation of a new shooting range for the City of Gallup Shooters Range at both the Oct. 2 and Oct. 16 regular meetings.

Bernie Gomez spoke for the item on Oct. 2. He said the commission has worked on matters concerning the range in the past.

“[We’re] trying to develop another part to draw in outside people,” he said Oct. 2.

Martin O’Malley, general manager of Gallup Land Partners, said the new range has been approved with GLP as the leaser.

At the Oct. 2 meeting, O’Malley asked for a complete property layout that included ample space for adjacent properties, and which would avoid danger to any potential livestock or walkers on a trail about two miles from the range.

“We want some assurances,” O’Malley said. “We’d like to see more detail on what this entails for safety reasons.”

The item was tabled at the Oct. 2 meeting to give Gallup Land Partners time to review the map of the proposed range and ensure the location would be safe enough for livestock and passersby.

At the Oct. 16 meeting, Gomez again spoke for the item. He said the range in question would be used for competitions with pistols and short rifles. It would be located next to the current police firing range, a point verified by McKinley County Attorney Doug Decker.

Decker said all issues concerning Gallup Land Partners had been addressed.

The current range is built on land that was donated by Gamerco & Associates and by Gallup Shooters Inc., which was founded in 2005 with the aim of promoting shooting sports in a safe and convenient location, and educating people about the use of firearms for personal protection, recreational shooting and hunting.

The item was approved with a 3-0-0 vote.

Other items discussed at Oct. 16 meeting

Jami Stueck requested millings be donated by McKinley County for maintenance on 0.6 miles of County Road 14 through the Seewald Estates in Thoreau. The Commission was not able to agree on donating the millings, citing other districts would come forward and demand similar treatment. The motion to approve was not seconded, so the item was struck down.

Doug Decker spoke for full appropriations from the 2019 New Mexico Legislature for the Detention Reimbursement Fund, the Prisoner Transport and Extradition Fund, and the Emergency Medical Services Fund. The goal was to restore each fund to its limit, with room for more. The item was approved with a 3-0-0 vote.

Jeff Irving, county roads superintendent, spoke for Navajo Nation IGA No. 16-MAR-3713, a partnership fund with the Navajo Nation. The county would get $100,000 to use at its discretion, as long as the work is done on tribal land. The item was approved with a 3-0-0 vote.

Resolutions for either budget increases or loans for groups such as Yah-Ta-Hey Water User Association, White Cliffs Water User Association, Whispering Cedars VFD, McKinley County juveniles, and NNDOT were all approved with a 3-0-0 vote.

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent