It all started on March 4, 2012, when a local golfer was playing the 12th hole at Mission Del Lago in San Antonio. All of a sudden, he looked down to see blood and realized he had been struck by a stray bullet which lodged in his sternum. He was rushed to the hospital and a .223 rifle slug was removed. Luckily, he survived. It wasn’t more than two weeks later, on March 13 when Mission Del Lago evacuated the golf course after two employees reported hearing a gunshot and then a bullet whizzing over their head. This time, nobody was actually shot. But it prompted the Municipal Golf Association of San Antonio to close the course for the day and file lawsuits to shut down the rifle area at A Place to Shoot gun range, less than two miles away, which they claim is the source of the stray bullets.
The problem in my eyes is the San Antonio Police Department conducted an in-depth investigation and no conclusion could be made about where the bullets originated. The other issue, the land in-between the golf course and the shooting range is a popular place for people to hog hunt. So how can the gun range be shut down without knowing for sure where the bullet came from? The gun range has been there for 30 years while the golf course has been there for only 20 years. It’s also the first reported public incident involving a stray bullet.
So this brings me up to yesterday, May 4. After four days of intense testimony, the judge in the case granted a temporary injunction against the gun range which moved one step closer to permanently shutting down the rifle section of A Place to Shoot. According to testimony this week, the gun range has been losing $1000 per day for the last 50 days by having the rifle section shut down. Testimony from the National Rifle Association, the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code and the Texas Health and Safety Code couldn’t sway the judge in favor of the gun range. The Judge presiding over the case, John D. Gabriel, recognized how difficult this case is, especially since nobody can prove where the stray bullets came from. It’s also fair to state that in order for the rifle section of the gun range to be shut down for good, the case must go to a jury trial.
In my opinion, this is purely city politics at its best. Why do I say that? Because the Municipal Golf Association-SA, which operates all eight of the San Antonio municipal golf courses, can’t afford to lose the revenue from golfers going elsewhere for the fear of being shot. If the MGA-SA loses money on the golf operations, then the City of San Antonio loses money. I also believe the MGA-SA has to try and deflect the blame from themselves onto the gun range because of the pending lawsuit from the golfer who was shot back on March 4. The Judge will hide behind the “public safety” aspect of it, but if you can’t prove the bullet came from the gun range, then how can he rule in favor of shutting down the gun range? Shutting down the entire rifle section is a little excessive, especially based on the lack of factual evidence. Why couldn’t he rule to force the gun range to reconstruct and raise the barriers? It just smells of city politics doing its best to shut down a small business owner all the while trying to protect its own interests, instead of following the evidence presented.
I have been following this case pretty closely since it broke back in March and with every ruling it irritates me more. I surely won’t be going to play or support Mission Del Lago anytime soon. It will also take a miracle for me to go play any of the other San Antonio-owned courses after this debacle. This is far from over. I hope when this goes to jury they are able to review the evidence and shoot down the injunction in its entirety.
So now my tally is up to at least two golf courses in San Antonio I will not be playing anymore. 1.) Mission Del Lago 2.) Anything Foresight Golf owns. But more on this later…