Municipality Seeks to Move Gun Clubs

Phnom Penh First Deputy Go­v­ernor Chea Sophara wants to re­locate all seven of the Phnom Penh’s gun clubs outside the capital, saying the noise from the firing ranges disturbs the peace and is against the spirit of the city’s disarmament program.

“We don’t want to hear the sound of gunfire near the city, because we are fed up with it,” Chea Sophara said Thursday.

Chea Sophara has asked the Ministry of Interior to consider relocating the clubs. “The inte­rior co-ministers agreed with my idea and said they will look into this case.”

The existence of gun clubs near the city could be frightening to villagers working in their rice fields and may discourage investment in the area, he said. The municipal official also raised concerns about the safety of the gun clubs, saying the barriers around the shooting ranges are too low. “You know, [one] club is near the airport. Sometime, a bullet may fly high and hit a plane. So that is a big danger,” he said.

Victor Chao, owner of the Marks­men’s Club shooting range, hopes to compromise with the municipality. Chao said he has considered moving the shooting range indoors, to avoid bothering his neighbors. Chao de­fended shooting ranges as legitimate entertainment for tourists and residents. “We have not created any terrorists or serial killers at the range,” he said.

However, Chea Sophara said that recreational gunfire is “not appropriate to the city’s disarming program, which is being conducted across the city now.”

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