The Connecticut State Police need a new gun range and training facility. This is a fact. Their current location in Simsbury is outdated and poorly built for the site it's on.
EDIT 4/11/16: We no longer believe that the Simsbury site is unsuitable for a CSP gun range. We believe that it is closer to the truth to say that the CSP gun range is considered unsuitable for Simsbury.
For the past several years, the police have been scouting a location for a new, updated range. This project has been controversial from the start. Instead of an updating of the current facility, which consists of a pistol range, a rifle range, and a classroom for 20 students, the new version of the project has swelled to a 55,000 square foot building, two control towers, four outdoor shooting ranges, an indoor range, lockers for large stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and a garage. Off the record reports include the relocation of the K-9 units, the SWAT team, the Search and Rescue unit, the Bomb squad, and the entire police academy.
Shooting will go from dawn until dusk, Monday through Friday, with weekend shooting admittedly on the schedule. There will be nighttime shooting, and use of this massive facility will be open to not just Connecticut State Police, but also unnamed and unnumbered national and international entities.
Instead of updating the current location, and using the 12-acre plot already owned by the state, Connecticut State Police are now actively pursing a privately owned parcel of land in Willington, Connecticut. This plot of land is exponentially bigger than the current facility, and would take 300 acres of land out of private ownership and into State control. In fact, this project is such a massive overbuild, all 1300 State Troopers could complete recertification in less than three months.
Instead of looking at land already owned by the state, thus saving Connecticut taxpayers, the State Police are looking to purchase more land, and build a massive paramilitary compound on it, all while refusing to reveal a budget, a firm blueprint, concrete hours of operation, a list of groups who will use the site, or environmental safeguards.
And since this is a state project, none of the construction will be subject to the democratically crafted zoning laws of the town that will house it. Zero outside oversight. Zero accountability. Zero limits.
The location of this proposed training complex is smack dab in the middle of a residential section of a rural town. It is within a mile of houses, and apartments, and within two miles of schools, churches, and a historical district.
Opposition to this proposal as it stands goes way beyond the "Not In My Backyard" mentality. Opposition to this proposal is not about gun ownership, gun control, or the Second Ammendment. Opposition to this proposal is not about police. What this opposition is about is protesting a massive overreach by a state entity that should not be allowed to happen in any town. This is about the troubling militarization of our country's police forces. This is about the effects of gun ranges on the environment. This is about the crippling loss of property values a small town is facing.
We are unWillington. And we are unwilling to let the state damage our environment, destroy our property values, shatter our town's character, and steamroll the democratic process.