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Lawyer seeks OK to put firing range in his basement

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A Toledo lawyer who’s aiming for a Lucas County judgeship wants to put a firing range in the basement of his Ottawa Hills home.

Mark Davis, a Republican seeking the seat now held by retiring Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald, has asked Village Council to allow him to install a private shooting range at his Underhill Road home.

“I have a concealed carry [permit],” Mr. Davis, 45, said. “I’m someone who is a believer in the Second Amendment, although candidates for judge can’t really talk about that.”

In November, Mr. Davis, who was the lone candidate for judge on the GOP ticket, will be on the ballot along with Ian English, 44, a longtime assistant county prosecutor who won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination May 6.

“It’s just something of personal interest where I want to do it right, follow the law, and if the village approves it, it would be something I would consider adding to my home,” Mr. Davis said of the firing range. He added that he does not have children.

Village zoning rules do not prohibit firing ranges, but the law does prohibit discharging firearms within village limits unless they are used “within the confines of a person’s own property, provided such use is under adult supervision and is approved by the municipality.”

Village Manager Marc Thompson said Mr. Davis spoke to Village Council April 21 about his idea. At that meeting, Mayor Kevin Gilmore assigned the topic to council’s safety committee for study and a recommendation. It remains “under review,” Mr. Thompson said.

Mr. Davis said he got the idea for an indoor shooting range at the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark, which has a shooting gallery in the basement.

Mr. Davis, who has made four unsuccessful runs for judge in both Toledo Municipal Court and Lucas County Common Pleas Court, said he did not think his desire for a home shooting range should have any impact on his current campaign.

“It doesn’t mean anything as the judge’s race is simply based on your qualifications as a candidate: Are you a good attorney? Are you knowledgeable in the law? Are you going to be fair and impartial?” he said. “None of it has to do with whether you believe in someone’s right to defend themselves as far as personal protection.”

Mr. English, who said he previously had a concealed carry permit but no longer does, did not want to comment on Mr. Davis’ plan for a shooting range.

“As it relates to my opponent, my focus is to deliver to the voters a message that I am the more qualified lawyer with a greater breadth of experience working as a prosecutor protecting the citizens of this community by handling murder cases and other violent crimes,” he said. “The more important discussion is changing the system so that we can reduce recidivism and prison population and save tax dollars.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: or 419-213-2134.

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