On 2 November the Benton County Advisory Plan Commission voted 7-2 in our favor to recommend to the Commissioners that the Range needs to be rezoned. Then on 5 November the Benton County Commissioners voted 3-0 to rezone our range. This is very good news and hopefully end of us fighting on two fronts. A big thanks to all who reached out in support of the range and quality training.
The next hurdle is the civil suit coming to a courthouse near you in the spring of 2019. Wish us luck.
Before I started my company (in 2015) I called the Sheriff and asked what I would need to do to get it going. He told me that I needed and adequate backstop and I needed to own the land. I also spoke to my 93 year old neighbor (who owns a campground with two small cottages on it) and told him what I was thinking about doing. I mentioned to him that we could have the cub scouts and 4h camp at his place and they could learn firearms safety at my range. He was very receptive to the idea. I thought this would work out great because he is only at his cottage 45 days a year. During that 45 days I may have classes and shoot about 23 days. Months after I opened the range his attitude changed but he didn't come to me he went to the political class in our county to have me shut down.
The 93 year old decided to sue me for ruining the enjoyment of his property. He tried and injunction which failed and all of a sudden (3 weeks later) the county comes after me. The Plan Commission/BZA lawyer sends me a letter stating that if I don't come up with a resolution with the 93 year old they will file and injunction and fine me $2500 per day since October of 2015 (I am around $1.5 million in fines at this time if they win). His farm manager is good friends with the local political class and roped the county into coming after me for violating a permit on an ordinance that doesn't exist. No where in the county ordinances does it saying anything about firearms, shooting, range, guns or anything close. They filed an injunction to have me shut down because I did not get a permit to run an "Outdoor Commercial Enterprise". In Benton County, Indiana an outdoor commercial enterprise is defined as Agriculture and Farm related activities, which a gun range is neither.
The 93 year old's story has changed every time he is under oath and he has the county doing his bidding. While he is coming after me he has been violating his board of zoning appeals permit from day one.
He says it is about the noise but the truth goes back to when my father was buying the property on contract from the previous owner. He tried to get my father to sell and then when that didn't work he went to the farmer that my father was buying the property on contract from and tried to get him to say that my father was late on a payment and break the contract. Luckily for my father the farmer had integrity and refused. The bottom line is the noise is just an excuse. All of the other neighbors around us shoot and it is in a very rural area. So rural that there is a bird habitat across the road that gets hunted every year.
I have a good attorney and I believe I will win on both fronts but they are doing a very good job of out spending me (which is one of their strategies). Even though I help the community is numerous ways his money and influence is proving hard to beat.
So now that the county is out of it we can focus on the original lawsuit. Thank you for all the support!
Update 10/4/18: The Newton County Judge voted against the Benton County Commissioners and myself. The final APC vote was 4-3 (I won) but 2 of the APC members were absent. The Judge decided that if the other 2 people would have showed up and voted for Frank then the vote would have been 5-4 in favor of Frank. I want you to think about this for a second. Think about our last elections... What if the supreme court said, "oh wait, 120 million people didn't vote and if they would have then we think they would have voted for Hilldawg and just like that, Hillary would be president. It's is silly. Frank and his lawyer were present at the vote. I assume they can count. They could have said something right then and there. Alright, I am done complaining. Here is the deal, we are going back in front of the APC getting a solid vote, I hope no ones kids get sick and can't make it, then the Commissioners vote again. Yes we have been fighting for the range since 2015, yes I believe we will win. In the mean time the range is shut down and will be holding classes in Monticello at Liberty Arms.
People have asked how they can help. Letters to the APC and Commissioners help. Some want to help with my lawyer fees. I appreciate it and we do have a GoFundMe but i would rather you get something for your money. Sign up for a class or buy a hat or t-shirt. I thank you all so very much and we will FIGHT ON! The people in the gun culture are the best.
CALL TO ACTION
What Briggs Core Dynamics (BCD) has accomplished in less than 3 years (with the help of family, friends, residents of Benton County and surrounding Counties and Law Enforcement):
1. We now have over 200 members and growing.
2. Women and men who would have never carried for personal protection now have the confidence to carry safe and have the tools to protect their family.
3. BCD has completed threat and vulnerability assessments for Benton County School Corp.
4. We have already given our situational awareness and Active Shooter presentation to most of the staff at the BC High School.
5. Faculty and teachers at BC have contacted me for follow-up on training at the range.
6. We have conducted a complete vulnerability assessment at the Kankakee Valley School Corporation.
7. Our Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training is conducted in the schools throughout Benton County so that the responding officers know the building in case they are called there.
8. We have a current contract with Lafayette Police Department (140 officers) for 3 days of training once a month.
9. We have a contract with Warrick County Sheriff’s Dept. to train all 40 of their officers in Patrol Rifle Tactics.
10. We have a teaming agreement with the Impact Zone Training Center to enhance LE competency through combining defensive tactics and firearms in the same course.
11. Our Active Shooter courses for civilians utilize the old nursing home in Otterbein and the local businesses benefit from this.
12. In our first year and a half, we have had 16 different Police Departments training at the range and they are very happy with the quality of training. Officers come from all over the state, from French Lick to South Bend to attend our courses.
14. We have conducted a vulnerability assessment of the Benton County Courthouse for the Commissioners and made recommendations to improve security.
15. Briggs Core Dynamics is a training provider for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
16. We have completed a threat assessment for the North Newton School Corp.
17. We have people from Indianapolis and Lafayette that are members and they drive clear up here to train because there is nothing like the quality of training we do anywhere else in the state. The level of instructors that I can bring to train is unlike anything that Indiana has had before. All former Special Operations and former co-workers of mine as a contractors for OGA.
18. Most of the members and students are local and get the most benefit from the range and the training.
19. Benton County and Newton County have both showed interest in purchasing a corporate membership for their courthouse staff.
20. We have had the pleasure of training the Benton County EMS on Situational Awareness and Defensive Mindset skills to help better protect themselves and their families.
21. We will be training Jasper County EMS in the near future.
22. To date we have helped over 300 people further their education with firearms and awareness. We would have many more but I have had dozens of people tell me that they don’t want to purchase a year’s membership if I am going to be shut down.
I am very proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time and hope to keep growing and providing the public and Law Enforcement the quality of training that they can’t get anywhere else.
My company, Briggs Core Dynamics, Inc., is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that trains firearms safety to the public as well as law enforcement. I have been fighting to keep my gun range in Indiana open for almost two years. There is a very wealthy 93 year old man (retired attorney) that owns a lot of property around my gun range. He doesn't even reside in my state. He lives in Alabama and only visits his property by my range 45 days a year. He decided that he wants me gone and is using the local political class to do it. He never asked to talk about the noise, he never asked if I could only shoot during specific hours. He never came to me like a man to discuss the issue. He just decided to sue me.
The support I will receive will not only keep my company running but I will continue to support the community as I have over 200 members and 14 Law Enforcement Agencies use my facility and attend our training. I also work with school corporations with active shooter training and threat assessments.
8/7/2018 Update. On 18 July Frank Stevenson drug us back into court to try to get the judge to shut us down due to two members of the Area Plan Commission not being at the vote. He was present with his attorney at the time of the vote and chose not to say anything because he thought he was going to win. He lost and is now sueing the County Commissioners as well as me to get the zoning vote (which was 3-0 in my favor) reversed. If he wins then we will go back before the same APC that voted in my favor and they will pass it again. Then it will go before the Commissioners and they will vote to rezone me once again. It is a rediculious game aimed at draining my funds. That is it, plain and simple.
On the other hand, we had a great weekend of shooting, book signing and more shooting with a hog roast at the end with the Hero's of Benghazi Kris Paronto and Dave Benton. The only low point was when Frank Stevenson drove by and flipped off Bob Oliver's daughter as she was helping prepare the food.Frank is 94 years old. I guess we all mature at our own rate....
Briggs Core Dynamics