January 2, 2014

Finding a Range Can Be A Challenge



It's been 7 months since I've fired some lead. A shame really. It's really due to the ammo shortage that was spiked because of the gun control push in early 2013 to ban semi-automatic rifles (all of them) in the United States. When the bill failed, the ammo was still in short supply- and folks think it will not get better until at least Summer 2014.

It is also a damn shame that lead ammunition (by default: ammunition) is now banned in California starting in a few years. That's nothing but major league bullshit and I would not comply with it.

When I moved back home, the process for finding a gun store and a range was radically different than Illinois. In the socialist republic of Illinois (I will call it a state again once it joins us in April as the last state to honor concealed carry) it is illegal to own and/or operate an open-door range as a business. The only way to shoot in Illinois is to belong to an indoor range or shoot on private property away from people. With $600 a year in costs just to shoot at an indoor range, it became a very expensive prospect indeed.

There are indoor ranges in Pennsylvania, but they are a rarity. Instead, there are multiple clubs around the area that you can join in order to use their range. The majority of them are 'exclusive' clubs, meaning that you need 1-2 people inside the club to sponsor you and get you in the club. Not so with the range I found recently. As an added bonus, it's inside of a hometown I lived in about 10 years ago. From that, I learned that there were more outdoor ranges in our area that were similar and weren't exclusive clubs. Cool.

Normally no one is there, but I showed up yesterday on New Years day to their trap shoot and the lodge was open. It's a nice lodge- it has a small fireplace, a BBQ grill and a fridge. I walked over to the counter, where someone was, and filled out a brief registration card. I was given my member ID and I am clear to use their range (pistol or rifle) when they are open.

Hopefully I can get a buddy to come with me tomorrow and we can go shooting on the pistol range. I've read up on outdoor range etiquette, and I believe in safety; it is my number 1 priority. Some dumb shit was monkeying around at the range in 2011 or 2012 and accidentally shot himself. He died. That is inexcusable as a gun owner. Safety must be paramount when handling lethal weapons- even while plinking.

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