It's time for a local public gun range

Gun ranges are too often condemned by the uneducated. To educate those who are not interested remains a lost cause.

With that said let's look at how our state representatives and local county representatives can help. The department of game and inland fisheries already have gun ranges in various forms.

The closest gun range is in the Chickahominy wildlife refuge. This "sighting-in range" offers shot gun, rifle up to 100 yards. These ranges come with restrictions and are closed during non-hunting months. I propose the following to our legislators: Produce a bill that would open up all "sighting in ranges" to full time use and reopen the handgun range at Chickahominy.

This range could produce an income for the department of game and inland fisheries. Based on an average of six to 10 visitors a day with up to 40 on the weekends totaling 130 visitors a week at, 52 weeks a year, 6,760 visits. I would expect any gun enthusiast would pay $100 yearly membership fee. I would expect from our region 300 members would sign up for the Chickahominy range. At least $30,000 dollar in additional income could be produced. If they add a handgun range, then multiply it across the six state sight-in ranges and the 42 wildlife management areas, income would be significant.

Some legislators might not want to compete with local privately owned ranges. But there are no public ranges in our area.

There will be calls for safety by the wild life management employees. There are 31 ranges in West Virginia; most are open year round and there are no safety issues that I am aware of. Wildlife management employees might say a pistol range attracts people who are not safe. With the income these ranges can produce we would be able to teach gun safety at additional cost and create jobs by hiring range managers. It is time for Del. Pogge to step up and present legislation to push this idea. She has often spoken in support of gun right, but we need action.

Alphaus Baker

Williamsburg

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