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It’s easy to believe that people who do and don’t like firearms will never agree about anything. But here’s a heartwarming example of an exception to that rule. Four counties north of Denver have a problem: no public place to shoot. So for years, people have gone out to informal spots in the woods to shoot, a few of them patently unsafe, and they’ve made an unholy mess with shell casings, torn-up targets, perforated cans, and old ammo boxes. Worse, as houses have snaked deeper into the mountains, they’ve subjected residents to noise and the occasional round through the plate glass window. It’s an environmental, social, and security disaster . . .

The four counties listened to their citizens, and have now banded together, along with the Colorado Department of Wildlife and the US Forest Service, to identify a good place for a public range and then get it built.

They’ve been holding public meetings and gathering input. Occasionally, someone will argue that nobody should ever shoot guns anywhere, but they are rare participants.

Most people along the Front Range, shooters and not, want to see shooting done in a safe designated area. Hats off to the four counties and the two agencies for working to make this happen. You can read more about it here.

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  1. In Western Colorado, Grand Junction/Mesa County to be precise, we have two BLM ranges, one at 1000 yards – although some bastard stole the gong – and another is being designed through a partnership between the City of Palisade, Mesa County, and GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado). And for combining indoor shooting with all the creature comforts? Time for a shameless plug for my favorite spot – Rocky Mountain Gun Club, LLC –

    • And once the Cameo range is built, I bet all shooting not involving hunting will be outlawed on BLM land from the state line to 32 road.
      I pick up my brass and range trash, not everyone does. 25 road is a disaster, I get all that. But again, the freedom to just go out and do a little shooting will morph into that urban nightmare of lines, reservations, limits on types of ammo, etc.
      Be careful what you wish for.

      • I’m sure that’s in the back of someone’s fiendishly clever master plan. The only thing at this point that’s preventing that (at this time) is the GJPD/MCSO/FPD/PPD use of the range north of the airport.

        Bolero – You smell local. Drop me a line at [email protected] if you would please. I’d appreciate making personal contact with you.

  2. Used to be several places in Southern California to shoot that got shut down– not because of anti-gunners, but because of the enormous amount of trash and litter that shooters would leave behind. You know the type- appliances, cans, tvs, electronics, propane tanks etc. etc. etc. No one cared about the firearm aspect, it was all about trying to haul all that c#$$p out- BLM and the Forest Service just got fed up.

  3. As a Colorado resident, I wish there were more places to shoot, but I worry that if The facility isn’t big enough it’ll just become another crowded, boring square range, which doesn’t interest me at all. I need room to actually train, move, and rapid fire. If they set up another stuffy, tiny public range, I’ll still be scavenging for space up in the mountains.

    We need more open ranges that cater to the modern defensive shooter.

  4. No surprises here that there are problems. Just surprised the Boulder County is involved. Currently surrounded by those counties in JeffCo, but spent the last couple winters in Summit, just to the west of Clear Creek county, which has a nice outdoor range, right above Keystone. The problem there, of course, is that it is a ski resort community, meaning that the range is closed for maybe half the year due to snow. And, the time that it is open is the time that we spend every year in MT, where shooting in the National Forest is not an issue – you can essentially shoot anywhere that is away from roads, houses, and campgrounds. The way that Colorado was when I was growing up.

    Thanks for the information. I am signing up for their emails, since I do expect to be spending half of every year in the area for the foreseeable future.

    • I’ve been wondering about that range near Keystone-it looks like it’s near the landfill. My other choice, which is open now, is the range on the Pawnee grasslands. I don’t think they’ve banned shooting elsewhere in the Pawnee, but there’s been lots of trouble with people leaving trash, brass, and stuff used as targets-TVs, washing machines, etc.

  5. I was just talking about this a couple of days ago on another TTAG thread. About how suddenly there are a trillion ( I had stated a million originally, now there’s more) AZ STATE TRUST LAND signs forbidding target shooting where there where none before. Think maybe it’s the new governor doing the new Mayor of Mayberry thing.Now I do understand about the trash and the empty casings etc. (we always pick up what we brought in and then some) but I can’t help but feeling a little squeezed by the powers that be. Fortunately there’s lots of BLM land we can shoot on but I wonder for how long?

  6. Hrmph. No Jefferson county, but I’m close to Clear Creek. I’d love to have a range closer than Buffalo Creek outside of Bailey.. That place has become amateur hour to say the least crowded and dangerous. (Last time I was up there, people would call cold range to go get/set targets, and some winners just started firing and grinning while they did so, while people were downrange. Awesome.)

    Maybe I need to go to one of these meetings.

    • If you’re in Clear Creek County, there’s a private range at the Clear Creek Sportsman’s club. I think they’ll take applications from residents, but if you don’t live in the county you’re SOL.

  7. Nowhere. The Nat’l Guard closed public access to the only range on the island a couple of years ago. And state law says you can only transport a firearm to a range, hunting site or gunsmith/dealer.. and since I don’t hunt………

  8. I should add, too, that the midwest is full of public gun ranges that are unmanned, and mostly immaculate. It seems that if local government sets aside a safe place for people to shoot (posted with all the usual legal disclaimers), people can shoot safely and keep the place clean on their own. It seems to me that it’s the gesture of respect for citizens that is at work. You want a place to shoot? Here’s a place to shoot. Now, it’s up to you to keep it clean. And people generally do.
    Boulder is an extremely liberal place, mostly hostile to guns. It does, though, have a great gun store (Gunport Colorado) and a high number of concealed-carry permits. Mostly what’s operating here is that Boulder is a well-educated town that recognizes that people want to go shooting, and it’s better to have them doing so in a safe place instead of trashing the woods. As a lifelong liberal Democrat and a lifelong shooter, I’m always on the lookout for examples of common cause. This is a good development.

  9. I used one of these public ranges in Arkansas. It was great and it was free.
    I’ll be going back this spring. I wish they had these in North Texas.
    Unfortunately, I have resigned myself to picking up after the “somebody else will do it for me because I’m too macho-cool to pick up after myself” crowd.
    Those people make the rest of us look bad.

  10. Pueblo West Sportsman’s club is the best range I have ever been to. When I was stationed in Colorado, the area above Garden of the Gods was so damn littered we were practically ashamed to go there, not to mention the buys bringing a 12 pack with them and hanging a frozen turkey to shoot at. We would regularly pack out 4 trashbags each time we went, and that barely put a dent in the litter.

    I jumped at the chance to join Pueblo West, and I was able to get more valuable training in there then any other place. 270 degree backstops, gongs, you name it. Often there was quite a few beared types there with some tricked out stuff.

    I have not been there in the better part of 9 years, but if you are within a 2 hour drive, it is worth the membership and gas money, trust me.

    • Good for you packing out trash. No one else will thank you but I will. I’ve done the same thing more times than I can recall.

  11. Just like the Ayoob comment, gun owners are their own worst enemy. How hard is it to clean up your trash? Infantile maturity is hurting gun rights, aint no two ways around it.

  12. spent almost 9 years in gilpin county colorado. i miss the shooting so much. best was it was free. apex valley, gamble gulch, ect… 1000 yrds? you got it. anywhere above 10,000ft(timber line, no one lives above timber line). even had a couple of gilpin county sheriffs shoot with us one day. any gun any distance. now i am back in RI and life blows. can’t even hunt with anything above .229. have to pay for the range/gun club. i miss CO. free shooting at long distances, 11am sunday kick-offs and sunday/monday night football was over by 9/9:30pm. i know that CO has passed some stupid gun laws but the mountain sheriffs refuse to enforce said laws. it truly is and still is the wild west at elevation. i’ll be moving back asap.

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