The U.S. Border Patrol’s Acting Director and the County’s Planning Department are taking action on a North County gun range that nearby homeowners say is causing havoc in their quiet neighborhood.
The Border Patrol investigation, along with demands to make changes from the County’s Code Enforcement Division, is a result of a recent NBC 7 Investigates story on the controversial gun range, located north of Escondido, near the San Diego Safari Park.
Records obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show the range is owned by the nonprofit Freedom Fighters Foundation and a range manager, who is also a Foundation member, is a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Retired FBI agent John Carroll lives in Rancho San Pasqual, just over the hill from the range. Carroll and other neighbors told us noise from the range is a near-constant disturbance, and stray bullets are both dangerous, and a fire risk in the dry brush.
Our investigation prompted Congressman Scott Peters to demand answers about Border Patrol involvement with the gun range.
Just this week, in a letter to Peters, Border Patrol Acting Chief Carla Provost confirmed that her agency does not operate the range nor conduct any official training in that area.
Provost’s comments contradict previous statements by the range owners, who told neighbors the property was used for Border Patrol training.
Acting Director Provost also said the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Professional Responsibility is now investigating the gun range and its ownership, for any potential misconduct by employees.
In addition, county of San Diego code enforcement officers has also put the Freedom Fighters Foundation on notice.
The county’s five-page warning letter, with attachments, summarizes a county inspection that found illegal grading and clearing, illegal structures, and illegal waste and debris.
The county also questioned how the owners are using their property and noted that the land in which the range sits is zoned for agriculture and listed as vacant on country property rolls.
John Carroll said he’s grateful that the Border Patrol and County of San Diego have taken action on the issue but wants to see more done.
In an interview Tuesday, he demanded that County regulators close the range immediately, so homeowners can enjoy their home and relax again, on their patios.
"We can't use our patios in the morning,” Carroll said. “We can't use them in the afternoon. We can't use them in the evening. The constant noise of the gunfire, hour after hour after hour just pierces the atmosphere."