NEWMAN LAKE, Wash – If you live in rural Newman Lake, you probably like to soak in the wildlife, forested areas, and nearby nature conservatory.
But not the bullets whizzing by, or sound of countless shots being fired, right outside your home.
"We thought what a beautiful spot, this is our paradise, this is our respite from the world, you know," said resident Nora Scott, who moved to the area 17 years ago.
But the other day, her neighbor counted the shots that pierced the air.
"2,700 in a three-hour period of time," she told KHQ.
But the noise isn't the real concern. A bullet went through one neighbor's kitchen window, a pipe bomb was found near a shooting range Sunday, and Scott has had her own close call:
"I had four shots go right over my head, you could hear the little ‘ping, ping,'" she said.
The land in question belongs to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, just off Roth and Hauser Lake Road. Target shooting is legal there, but there are provisions and restrictions that neighbors say are not being followed. For example, there are no backstops behind targets, explosives are used on trees, and bullets are being fired yards away from walking trails and homes.
"We don't know where the bullets are going to end up. It's a very scary situation and we're rightfully concerned about our safety," said fellow Newman Lake resident, Morgan Evans.
His home is half a mile from one of the roughly five target shooting areas that have surfaced in the rural neighborhood.
"Personal safety is at stake, the environment is at stake, and all we see is inaction," he told KHQ.
A DNR spokesperson told KHQ it is very concerned about personal safety, and the department has a number of restrictions on the books meant to encourage safe shooting.
But neighbors say they're not being followed. They want the DNR to shut down the target shooting areas before someone gets hurt – or killed.
"People's lives are at stake," Evans said.
DNR told KHQ the law does allow it to shut down shooting areas for safety reasons, but at issue here is a county road with right-of-way that runs through the area. More investigation needs to be done to clear up the issue. In the meantime, the DNR says it does write citations, but it has one law enforcement officer for the Northeast Washington region.
In the meantime, both the Spokane County Sheriff's Department and the DNR encourage you to call 9-1-1 if you feel your safety is at risk.