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Maryville leaders consider allowing firing ranges for gun manufacturers as Smith and Wesson moves to area

The new policy would allow Smith and Wesson to create a firing range. It would not be open to the public and would be used as part of the company's business.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Maryville leaders are thinking about changing the city's zoning ordinance to allow companies to build some outdoor firing ranges in unique situations.

Originally, the ordinance did not allow outdoor firing ranges. As Smith and Wesson starts to move into the area though, leaders are considering an amendment to allow the company and other gun manufacturers to build firing ranges.

The range would not be open to the public and could only be used by the company in the course of its own business, on its own property. It would be used by employees of the company or authorized agents of the manufacturer to test firearms.

The firing range could also be used in tournaments and competitions sponsored or administered by the gun manufacturer. It could also be used by authorized guests and customers as part of firearm training, practice, demonstration, evaluation or testing.

While Smith and Wesson will be the only gun manufacturer in Maryville, the changes could apply to future gun manufacturers that move into the area.

Officials said that the Maryville City Council unanimously approved the new policy on first reading. The amendment will not go into effect unless it is passed on its second reading during the council's next meeting, on Jan. 4.