Mounds View ordinance amendment necessary for gun range shot down

screenshot • Residents packed the Mounds View City Council’s Feb. 26 meeting, showing up in force to oppose a city code amendment that would have cleared the way for a proposed gun range in the city. The council voted 3-2 to drop the amendment.

In a council chambers so packed people were stuck in the hallway trying to listen through doors, the Mounds View City Council voted Feb. 26 to update the city’s firearm ordinance to be compliant with state and federal regulations, but without an additional amendment allowing the discharge of firearms at a city-approved gun range.

The gun range in question, packaged together with an apartment complex and retail shopping proposal put together by developer INH Properties and the Heartland Gun Club & Range, was to have been at Crossroad Pointe at the intersection of Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2.

The Mounds View Economic Administration and developer INH Properties had struck a preliminary economic development agreement on Jan. 23, giving the developer a year to finalize its proposal and present it to the city.

The first reading of updates to the city’s gun ordinance putting it in line with state and federal standards, with an addition allowing weapons to be discharged in city-designated facilities, was passed unanimously at the Feb. 12 Mounds View council meeting.

Faced with public outcry at the Feb. 26 meeting though, the council voted 3-2 to remove the amendment that would have made way for the gun range.

Council members Bill Bergeron, Sherry Gunn and Gary Meehlhause voted to remove the amendment, with Mayor Carol Mueller and council member Al Hull voting against.


Some for, more against

Filled to capacity, the meeting was gaveled to a halt multiple times by Mueller. Some in attendance held placards reading “vote no” or “no gun range,” pointing them at the council or angling them toward the camera broadcasting the meeting on CTV.

During public comment on the gun code amendment, Mounds View residents opposing the gun range reiterated concerns expressed at previous meetings, such as safety, disrupting community continuity and feeling heard by the council on the topic.

Russ Warren said he thinks the council is acting on behalf of the developer, not citizens.†

“When you understand the depth and the breadth of our opposition to the gun shop,” said Diane Hainds, “you will act accordingly.”

Kenneth Glidden said he couldn’t think of anything worse the council could do to make his street less safe. “It doesn’t make any sense to put that in the middle of our city.”

Residents in favor of the gun range said it would be an economic boost for the city, drawing shooting enthusiasts from around the area.

“I know I’m in the minority, here,” said Sarah Mears, adding she wanted people to know there are gun range supporters in Mounds View.


Rushing the ordinance change?

Lisa Rolfs said she didn’t hear about the gun club or the public hearing about the gun code amendment until a few weeks prior. “I feel like I am running, trying to grab onto a speeding train.”

People spoke against the gun ordinance amendment, asking the council to strike or table it. Many asked where the idea to update the city firearm ordinance came from, with one person asking if residents could vote on the amendment in a referendum.

Bill Urbanski said he would continue speaking to the council in opposition to the amendment section and the gun range, but that he would consider other avenues, including taking legal action. “I hope we don’t have to do that.”

After the public hearing, council members had a chance to speak before taking action.

Hull noted the council had been discussing the gun range since the developers came forward with it in August, leaving residents plenty of time to inform themselves. “To say you’re not informed or there’s a lack of transparency, I think, is a mistake.”

He also noted the land for development had been vacant since 2013. Mueller added the parcel is small, at 4.25-acres, making it difficult to get potential developers interested.

Another challenge to finding developers for the Crossroad Pointe plat, Hull said, was limited street access. He said Ramsey County controls Mounds View Boulevard, and has rejected requests from Mounds View to allow access points.

Meehlhause asked City Planner Jon Sevald how the need to change the city’s gun ordinance was discovered. Sevald said it was revealed by the developer.

“There’s an honest answer for ya, folks,” said Meehlhause.


‘Soul searching’

Bergeron made a motion for the city to move forward with bringing its gun code in line with other laws but without the amendment permitting the council to designate facilities for gun discharge. Gunn seconded it.

Though she said she initially supported bringing in the gun club, she pointed out removing the additional section “will probably kill” it.

“I have done a lot of soul searching,” Gunn said, pointing out she works in education, and that she reconsidered her vote because “of this last incident in Florida,” referencing the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Meehlhause said he was originally against the gun range, that he knew the proposal would stir up the Mounds View community, but because three council members were for it, he supported the measure for united council approval. “We are a team up here,” he said.

He said he would not be the third vote to pass INH’s apartment proposal with a gun range, but that he would be the third vote to strike it down.†

The developers still have until next January to finalize a proposal for the Crossroad Pointe plat.


– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815

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