Letter to the Editor: Reducing harm from our gun range helps people suffering from PTSD

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I’m relatively new to the Keystone/Dillon Community. I respect that my new community decided to build an open-air gun range and continue to value the benefit they receive from shooting at the range. I hope to appeal to gun owners and community leaders to reduce the potential harm inherent to the location of the range. 

I am a mental health professional who specializes in trauma and PTSD. In my field, we focus a lot on retraumatization, when something in the environment forces someone to re-experience the pain and fear of their trauma. Gun trauma impacts many visitors who come to our community for its serene and peaceful beauty. Without warning, the sounds of gunfire can force them to relive the most traumatic and devastating movements of their lives, whether their trauma is from war, domestic violence, mass shootings, or someone they love using a gun to take their own life. Even as someone without gun trauma, I still remember my shock and fear when I first heard AR-15 fire on a hike before realizing the gun range existed. 

I would respectfully encourage the gun range to put up simple roadway signs warning people that they will likely hear gunfire in certain areas. Let people decide to choose a different trail, golf course, vacation rental, or part of the lake where they can enjoy nature without the sounds of gunfire. After a hundred or so hikes in the area, I also ask those overseeing our trails to put stickers (like the e-bike stickers) on trailhead signs alerting people to the likelihood of gunfire. We could keep veterans and other visitors safe for just a few dollars without impacting anyone’s use of the range.