The San Diego Shotgun Sports Association was one of the most beloved and traveled shotgun clubs in Miramar, California where residents could practice their skeet and target shooting.
It was actually located in the Miramar military base in San Diego where it was originally maintained by the U.S. Navy. They opened their doors for the first time about 5 decades ago (in 1975 when the base was called the Miramar Naval Air Station) with a broad 29 acres of range for enthusiasts to enjoy.
It is now originally closed - and has been since Oct. of 2008 - when Donald Winter (the Secretary of the Navy) ordered a “cease-fire” by civilians within the range. After the first closure, handling of the property was given over to the Marines, who officially closed the Association (to civilians and military personnel) in 2010.
This has been a major point of contention with the locals who claimed the facility was causing contamination concerns to the environment. After this accusation, the military decided to conduct a full investigation into the concerns and did indeed find signs of lead contamination from years of shotgun pellets landing within the range. They also found significant damage to the 13-acre area called the “overshot” area right next to the range.
During the closure, a House Representative named Duncan Hunter tried to fight for the range to remain open. He had a deep love for the range because he was an active member and would often visit the Miramar shotgun range while he was a Marine officer, and a student at San Diego State.
Eventually he had to give into the military’s demand, while claiming they rushed to judgement for environmental reasons not fully “flushed out.”
What makes the story more wild then the military shutting down one of its beloved bases because of environmental concern, is the unbelievable “clean up” costs they estimate is necessary to get everything back to whole. The military estimated more than $20 million would be necessary to get things back in order. Which far surpasses the estimation by the SDSSA who claim the clean up can be completed - correctly - for a fraction of the cost.
Although it should be noted - after full analysis of the soil - that significant levels of copper, zink, lead, arsenic, and other chemicals were prominent and significant.
It was declared - reviewed and endorsed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board - that the acreage where the land was one was vitally important for endangered shrimp. The area was also deemed a regulated waterway.
Ultimately, the military won and decided to shut the branch down with no plans for ever reopening.
The marines did offer the San Diego Shooting Sports Association access to their range in Camp Pendleton, but almost all of the members quickly denied using this facility as it was very remote from their homes, and vastly smaller in size.