On the face of it, I would side with the Doc's freedom to do as he pleases as long as he is in compliance with local, state and Federal law.
On the other hand, I can see how automatic (or even sporadic seminautomatic) gunfire can rattle nerves and disrupt concentration.
The article has a lot unsaid.
What kind of a guy is the Doc? Is the one of those arrogant and so-full-of-themselves people or a friendly, neighborly kind of guy?
Could this confrontation have been handled better in its earlier stages? Perhaps he could have invited the complainers to come over and shoot the Tommy gun? Would this have helped? Perhaps so. Perhaps not.
Do we know if the automatic firing (or any firing) was done at certain times sure to disturb others, like noon time, at the crack of dawn, at night, during church worship time, and such? The article doesn't say.
Did anyone actually go to his house and ask in a neighborly fashion to schedule the firings? We do not know.
Or did the complainers just clump together and try to gang up on this legal gun owner, encouraged by fears of gun owners as homicidal maniacs and fearing rivers of blood as portrayed by leftist media? We will never know.
Disturbing the peace lawsuits have been won over things as mundane (but annoying nonetheless) as the neighbor's kids constantly dribbling a basketball.
And the fear of stray rounds can never be adequately addressed, unless the range is fully enclosed in cement and earth.
But think about this: a housing development that sprouts up around a golf course has no legal ground to hold the course or the golfers responsible for damage from stray golf balls. In my city, a nurse was killed when a stray ball went thru the window of her car and hit her on the head. She worked at an assisted-care facility for the elderly, where my wife used to work. It was ruled an accident (homicide by misadventure) and neither golfer nor golf course suffered any penalties.
Be interesting to see how this case turns out. Keep us advised, Mike!
We had something similar happen a while back near me, but it wasn't a firing range. It was a pig farm. A developer bought a large tract of farmland next to a pig farm of moderate size and developed it into a rather high-end subdivision with houses averaging $600k. The houses sold and then the homeowner's association filed a suit to make the farmer get rid of the smelly pigs. As the farmer was breaking no rules and was there first, the judge sided with him and denied the injunction. The homes there were trying to say it was making values go down and all that jazz.
Now to this day that pig farmer is still farming pigs (despite some ridiculously high buyout offers) and the rich residents still are smelling pig ****.
I think the residents that (I'm assuming from context) came after his range might be feeding from the same trough. I think he should be allowed to do as he wishes and has been doing for two decades.