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“A chain of gun-shops that has built gun ranges across central Florida has announced it will no longer rent out guns in order to stop a string of suicides that occurred when customers borrowed weapons and used them to take their own lives,” reports. “Shoot Straight, the largest independently owned chain of gun stores in the state, announced on Friday that the company would end its policy. Khaled Akkawi, the store’s founder, said the economic impact on his business would be ‘significant’ but felt he had no choice to make the decision, which he did last month.” This after . . .

customer committed suicide at the Pinellas Park Shoot Straight range in November. More recently, Raouf Kelada committed suicide at the [unaffiliated] Oak Ridge Gun Range on January 2nd. Strangely, that shooting triggered a racist/profiling rental prohibition policy:

“That won’t happen again,” said Oak Ridge owner John Harvey. “We don’t rent to any white male Florida resident who comes in alone. In the past 30 years, we’ve never has a suicide that wasn’t a white male Florida resident who came in alone. They don’t want to mess up their families’ homes, so they do it here.”

That’s one theory. While exceedingly rare, gun range suicides have spurred rental bans and policy changes at ranges throughout the country. Gander Mountain suspended rentals entirely, while Attleboro’s American Firearm School mandates unaccompanied renters must bring their own gun, after a suicide claimed a life in their pistol lanes.

It’s a shame. “Try before you buy” ranges perform a valuable service for customers, especially new shooters. Given the demonization of guns as suicide enablers by gun control advocates, this sea change bolsters their claim that reducing access to firearms will reduce suicides.

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      • You probably don’t think much of Jack Kevorkian then, do you, even though he has done so much to end terrible suffering for folks nearing their end.

        • Well comparing Kevorkian to gun suicides is somewhat apples to oranges, but obviously racenutz has never had to deal with a family member having a horrible wasting illness.

        • I have very little respect for the assisted suicide crowd. Gotta go run and ask permission to kill yourself? There’s a bridge. Quit being a pussy.

    • Offing yourself where other people have to clean up the mess is damned inconsiderate. Doing it where it will cost people money makes you a world class asshole.

      • Indeed, but I can’t help but feel that if the mass shooters that ended up offing themselves would have done that BEFORE taking anyone with them I’d gladly foot the bill for the cleanup…

      • If I ever get that point in my old age I have a plan. Lots of sleeping pills then a plastic bag over my head, taped at the neck. Quiet, peacefully passing in my sleep. And with no ‘scene’ really for my family to deal with. Why can’t others be this considerate?

        • Dude, its your job to come take off the bag, and clean my internet cache before family shows up. You know as friends I’d do it for you!

          • Don’t just tie the bag and suffocate. Get a small tank of welding argon, and run about 5 L/min through a tube up under the bag so you can keep inhaling and exhalinig until the lack of oxygen just makes you forget to breathe. N2 would also work, but I know where to get a little cylinder of argon. And invite all the friends you’d invite to a roast, to give you a ‘bon voyage’ party, so to speak. Then have them all turn on their cams, do the bag and tube and regulator, and go peacefully. Or, not a bag, just one of those oxygen masks.

        • Somebody mentioned cleaning the hard drive cache and it made me think of Adam Lanza. He took a hammer to the platters on his hard drive, and while everyone thought his motives were sinister, to be honest, I thought he just didn’t want people finding his stash of internet porn.

    • I completely get the business angle. If you’re going to commit suicide, they at least want to make a sale first. They may also have found that people who rent guns don’t provide much repeat range business. I would bet the range allows a person to shoot their friend’s gun when accompanied by that friend. The rule does not prohibit learning.

      Suicide is a natural right, I would think, one virtually impossible to prohibit. But messy suicides a la Hunter Thompson or Hemingway, do seem offensive, rude. Suicide by cop strikes me as just pathetic.

  1. A couple of the ranges around here have done something similar, for pretty much the same reason. The difference is that their policy is that if you bring your own gun, you can rent their guns.

    • That’s been the policy at my favorite range as long as I’ve been going there, and I always wondered why. Interesting, at least it makes sense now. They don’t enforce that rule if you are a regular, which makes sense too in this context.

    • This was my first thought as well. If someone shows up who already has a gun and ammo to shoot it should be pretty safe to rent them an additional gun.

    • That policy, “rent if you bring your own,” is very sensible. The risk of suicide comes largely in the first days of ownership or the early hours of renting. I can’t provide the citation, but I’ve seen that stat even in gun-friendly texts.

    • The few ranges that I do have around me require you to bring your own gun with you, or a friend, if you want to rent a gun.

      • Same thing here (Bellevue), and they actually did explain to me that this is due to suicide concerns. The fact that two different ranges that I know of do it, and with the same exact rules (bring your own gun, or bring another guy with you) leads me to believe that there may be a law that forces them to impose that rule or risk responsibility is their customer commits suicide at the range with a rented gun.

      • Pretty decent way to build a safety net, but there’s always a way around it. There was a recent suicide in a Western Washington gun range, by someone who was taking an intro class with a bunch of other people. Fortunately, no one else was hurt, at least physically.

        • Of course, you are never going to stop all suicides. Some people are determined enough to plan ahead and still carry it out. Most who try (and succeed, given the convenient opportunity) are not like that, though. Give them a chance to cool down and think it over, and they change their mind shortly.

  2. there’s such a thing as compromise in this scenario. nobody wants to be exposed to that kind of thing at a shooting range and it’s completely reasonable to take certain steps to discourage it. my local ranges won’t rent to first-timers who come in alone without a gun of their own. this makes sense… i have no issues with this whatsoever. come in with a friend. ceasing renting altogether is ludicrous, though.

    • As I recall, didn’t we have a mother bring in her grown son to shoot together and she shot him in the head and then shot herself within the last couple of years? I thought that was at Shoot Straight but I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure it was central Fla/Orlando area.

      • Yeah, that was at SS Casselberry. They’ve since (unrelated) completely demolished and rebuilt their store, bigger and better.

  3. A few years ago I read an article about Japanese men going to Guam to use the shooting range(s) there to commit suicide.

      • Seppuku was not really seen outside the samurai class, which doesn’t exist anymore. And not many of the population own or know how to use swords in the modern age. I think the last guy to do it was in the 80’s, name of Mishima, and his assistant (supposed to cut off his head as a mercy stroke) had no idea what he was doing. A JSDF general grabbed the sword away from him and finished the job, or so I’ve heard.

          • do it was in the 80′s, name of Mishima, and his assistant (supposed to cut off his head as […]

            If I remember my history correctly if you were going to kill yourself this way you always had a second or assistant who would finish the job for you if you didnt die quickly.

      • There is a good indoor range for the tourists from Japan to try out something they can’t own in Japan. I was there about 10 years ago and a guy working there said the preferred weapon for the japanese to off themselves with was a .44 Magnum.

  4. It’s a catch 22-either limit rentals to reduce the grave consequence of a patron killing themselves on your range, or dont and run the risk of antis using your business as an example to limit gun rights in the aftermath.

    As far as “trying before buying” goes, range rentals are a non starter anyways.I realize I’m going against the grain on this point, but no range has an unlimited selection of weapons on hand to try out.Not only that ,but the gun you shoot has little relevance to the one you’ll actually take home.If the rental gun works, it could be an older model with different internal parts then the newer models.If it doesnt, is it because the gun hasn’t been maintained -or is it really a suspect model?
    Point two-you have to do more then just shoot a gun at a square range.Even the most permissive range won’t let you carry the gun home -and I know from experience that a gun can be a sweetheart to the eyes and to the trigger finger, but a literal pain in the rear to actually carry.

    Then you have to know how it’s easy or tough to “run”.Can you transition targets easily with it, or is it tough because of the slide height? These are things you won’t know banging away at the square range.

    To really see of a gun fits your needs, there are two ways to do it.

    Buy it and eat the possible loss if you sell it, or borrow a close friends /familys example and run it hard.

    • You are correct, trying a gun at the range doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you, but it’s a way to weed out ones you aren’t going to like. To say it’s not a good thing to do, if possible, is like saying don’t read reviews because they won’t help you, or don’t even hold the gun since that won’t tell you how it shoots.. Just buy them from pictures.

    • It also depends on your particular needs. I went and rented two Sigs, one .45 and other .40 to see if there was difference in recoil. Since it was Illinois I could not carry anyway at that time and I wanted to use my new gun mostly for target shooting. So the square range was fine with me too. Not everyone needs to try shooting and running at the same time.
      I didn’t have any gun owning friends before I bought my first gun, so borrowing was out of question. And being cheap bastard I am I would hate to buy a pistol and later found out I hate to shoot it so I have to sell it with loss.
      Renting will help inexperienced people to see if they like the ergonomics, weight, sights etc.

    • After the Aurora theater shooting, I decided to carry a pistol. I am a 48 year old white male and a first time gun owner since last February. I went to two different ranges alone. They had different guns for rent at each range. Thankfully, they did not have this restriction on rental to a lone customer. I researched guns online but wanted to shoot as many different models and calibers needed to determine which suited me best. It is too bad that actions of so few ruin freedom for the overwhelming majority of people who want to enjoy life.

  5. “We don’t rent to any white male Florida resident who comes
    in alone.” – And nary a cry of profiling was heard.

    While this change does seem to bolster the antis’ claim of
    reducing suicides, it also conflicts. It shows that a suicidal
    person will find a way. However, what will be the most sickening
    outcome of this is the way the antis will drag these families
    through the gutter that is the MSM in order to claim a victory.

    • Perhaps they should consider keeping a bowl of black pills on the countertop and free access to a quiet room playing soft music as an alternative to making a mess on the shooting range walls?


    • I can’t help but wonder how many of the suicides were antis that decided to try the Way of the Gun as the most effective exit strategy…

  6. Motivated humans always find a way. This kind of reminds me of the Japanese fining the families of those who jumped in front of a train, mostly because of how inconsiderate it is to have others clean you off the pavement (as noted thoroughly above) and that it stops traffic/business.

    • People keep killing themselves in the Chicago suburbs by standing in front of commuter trains. Those people are major league a-holes.

      • It does seem gutless, effectively forcing someone else to pull the trigger, clean up the sidewalk, or drive the train.

    • The only suicide that impacted me personally was committed by a friends sister. She used a .22lr zip gun she fashioned out of a ball point pen.

  7. Maybe they can just designate a “Suicide Lane” for those who wish to end it all. It can be enclosed and even have a garden hose hooked up to clean up the mess.

  8. I think the whole thing of checking out using a firearm is weird, let alone with a rental. If I decided on “advance checkout” I’d do it with coke, Viagra, jack, and a couple hookers. In Vegas. Go out in style.

  9. Simple solution, like some others have said already: bring a gun of your own or come with a friend in order to rent. This could turn off lots of new shooters with little familiarity who want to try before they buy (e.g. mostly not white middle aged males) so the discriminatory practice of applying the bring a gun or friend policy can be applied to those who commit suicide with guns (e.g. almost entirely white middle aged males) without cutting into your profits from everyone else.

    It’s a private business so discriminate away. Do a ladies’ night next (if they don’t already).

    • How about the guy who wants to off his old lady. He could get her to go to the range, then rent a gun and do her in, and then himself, sort of a two for one deal.

  10. Could be worse, I suppose. My town finally got an indoor range after being without for years, because the last range closed after a rented gun suicide (although this was a 20 something girl who was there with family). The owner decided to close up after that, and the city commission was reluctant to ever permit a new one. The one we have now is on county land.

  11. Many Washington state ranges have a similar policy, but they have a few more exceptions, renting to people who have their own gun, a CCW, or a friend with them. Makes sense, as these are not the people you need to worry about sneaking off the the restroom with their rented gun.

  12. This solves nothing. The suicide will simply buy his own gun from the store, load it with the ammunition sold by the store and kill himself on the range.

    Guns don’t cause suicides. Period. Anyone willing to go through the trouble of going to a range and renting a gun will simply find another method if the rented gun is no longer available as an option. Gun control advocates simply ignore these numbers and harp on how many lives we could save if only…

    If we want to help these people we need to have a mental health system that is interested in actually helping people rather than performing a political service.

    • The range is OK with that because at least they’ll make a nice chunk of change on the gun and ammo. With a rental gun the barely make anything.

    • I don’t think the policies are directed at preventing suicide. They’re directed at reducing black eyes for the range.

      The notion that seeking psychotherapy, in-patient or out, is turned into a police and gun-rights issue is just stupid. The people that often need concern are the involuntary commits. If voluntary therapy is penalized (and it is, ever more so) then we’ll just have more mentally-distressed people.

      I don’t know how other 62-year-olds remember it, but forty years ago it was commonplace for people, from execs to military officers to gas-pumpers, to go through a period of suicidal feeling. They’d get some counseling, therapy, some improvement in life, and it would be in the past. Today? Hysteria is the only way to describe common reactions to verbal expressions of despair and anger.

  13. People who want to commit suicide will find a way to do it. This law will just make them find another way to do it.

    • Fortunately, this is not a law (yet). This is a store policy. It is deeply misguided but it is their option.

      I suspect it is being driven by the cost of insurance.

      • Unless their insurance is paying out, which I highly doubt, the suicides should have little impact on their rates.

        • There’s always some greedy family that wants to sue, claiming the range should have known Little Timmy was suicidal and never rented him a gun…

    • The point isn’t that they are seeking to end suicide in Florida, it’s that they don’t want it happening at their range!

      And I can’t blame them for any of it except maybe the “white male” part.

    • It’s not a law, dude. Did you even read the post?

      And yeah, maybe it will cause them to find another way, but at least the poor bastards at Shoot Straight are less likely to be the guy with the mop in their hands.

    • Practice shows that the majority of suicides are rather spontaneous – i.e. if you can convince the person to wait for a bit or otherwise defer it, the majority of them will reconsider. Similarly, those people who fail to kill themselves and get to a hospital instead – most of them don’t try to suicide again once they recuperate. So policies which defer access to convenient suicide tools, which guns undeniably are, do actually work. What they should do if they care about this kind of stuff is institute a waiting period for the “risk group” – basically first time is by appointment only, and that appointment can only be next day.

  14. Yeah! And while we are at it, we can BAN AUTOMOBILES, and stop all of those annoying car accident deaths. Then ban Tylenol and Aspirin to do away with all of those overdose problems, as the vomit all over the place is just revolting. Gee, we might just have something going here. THEN we can just BAN Democrats as so many suicides are among their group .. Hmmmmmmmmm ….
    Robert Seddon

  15. I figure anybody that had to rent a gun to off themselves was not a gun owner to start with. Likely he was either neutral on the issue of guns or even hostile to them. Maybe even voted anti gun. Is that too much of a streatch?

    For the record. I think a person should be able to off themselves if they so desire. I just wish they would consider others before they chose their time and place.

    In my old apartment complex a guy shot himself in the head in his families apartment while his family was at church on xmas eve. His 8 yo niece was the first to find him. I can still here that little girl screaming and that was many years gone.

    How much you wanta bet that girl votes anti gun now?

  16. As someone who worked as an RSO at a range and witnessed a suicide first hand. This policy will help but its not the answer. It is hurting the people that want to rent but there is no sure fire way to weed out the crazies.

  17. I was at a range where this has happened.
    Its not new here in Florida and Im sure its happened in a lot of other places.
    The aftermath of a range cleanup is even enough to discourage a few folks from shooting.
    I can tell you from personal experience. The chemical (bleach) smell is overwhelming in an indoor range. Even hours later.
    So if Shooting Straight doesn’t want to have to mop up afterwards.
    I don’t blame them one bit.

  18. The English are far more civilized. They off themselves with a bottle of Tylenol and a fifth of whiskey.

  19. I think I saved a guy’s life once. I was sitting at the coffee table with a few friends, and the owner of the house pulled a .38 revolver out from under the chair cushion and said how depressed he was because his wife. I kinda took the gun out of his hand, sort of, “Lessee that…”, unloaded it, and set it and the rounds on the coffee table. Part of me wanted to see what it looks like when a guy blows his brains out, but I didn’t put that little mental homunculus in my driver’s seat. (“Ooh, boy! I always wondered what that would look like! Hey, wait – go outside. You don’t want to shoot holes in your walls, and I don’t want to help clean up the mess!”)

  20. Not exactly business savvy IMO. Why not simply ban rentals to individuals who are alone and didn’t bring a personal firearm? Simple rule change. Profiling be damned.

    • I am curious why they didn’t go that route. Prior to this incident, they would rent to anyone, and that would seem like a good middle ground instead of going scorched earth. Most of the other ones around here already have the “no solo” rule.

  21. We had three gun range suicides here last year at three different ranges. Two of which I frequent, the third was actually up the road in College Station where Texas A&M U. is. There’s no push for legislation or local ordinances to change how gun ranges operate and I’m ok with thats

    If someone is visibly distraught, then I would expect counter staff to ask some questions and not rent to them if they’re uncomfortable doing so. However, it’s far too much to ask them to conduct a professional psychological evaluation of everyone who walks in. I’m not going to hold ranges or gun stores responsible for these events.

  22. I work for a Midwest state park system. The park managers tell me the parks are a favorite spot for doing the deed. They find them alone in the car on Monday mornings. Since they are all LEOs, they have to id the corpse (yuk) and notify the family. Yuck, too.

  23. Now the despondent will have to shell out 400 bucks for Glock 42s and enjoy the low recoil and slimline profile before finding out if the 380 really is so crappy a round it bounces off skull bone.

    • Save money if your going to off yourself, I said to a despondent friend one day.
      At least have the decency to use a 22 or 25.
      Not much mess with a headshot there at home.
      I think the thought of it got his thinking straight.
      He is still with us.

    • I personally know someone who was shot squarely in the face with a .380 from about two feet away. It impacted and entered about an inch below his eye, towards the inside of his face. His cheek bone deflected the bullet, which followed along the curvature of the bone under the skin and exited behind his ear. The entrance and exit wounds were the only damage done, and he was otherwise unscathed. So the idea of a .380 bouncing off someone’s skull isn’t exactly farfetched. I wouldn’t count on it, but it has happened.

      The story, if anyone cares, is an example of one of the most grossly negligent discharges one could imagine. He was in the back seat of the car, and his friend was in the passenger seat. The passenger reached in the glove box and started playing with the driver’s gun while the driver was out of the vehicle. Without checking it, or taking even a token amount of safety or forethought, he held it sideways, pointed it at his friend in the back, and while making a joke and pretending to be some sort of gang banger, said something to the effect of “what’d you say, MF-er?”, and pulled the trigger.

      All 3 individuals were, and continue to be close friends, and as such the one who got shot told the folks in the ER, along with pretty much everybody else since then, that he accidentally did it himself. Thankfully, the only lasting outcomes of the incident are a couple scars, and three people who won’t ever make that mistake again. It was obviously a very bad, and easily preventable situation, but it could have ended much worse.

    • I live here and have two of their stores within 20 minutes of me, I can verify it. Also, find my other comment where I linked to the arfcom thread, where a guy who actually works there was commenting.

      • It’s true…My buddy is the store manager of the Shoot Straight in Tampa. There have been quite a few suicides in the last few years, not to mention NDs, but that’s another issue all together.

  24. Well, guns are “suicide enablers” as this news item indicates. Is that really debatable? And without access to a gun these folks might have tried poison or a rope and would have a much better chance of being around today. Not renting a gun to a suicidal individual just might save a life and it has zero impact on your rights.

    And for god’s sake, find some compassion. People are renting guns just to blow their brains out and your biggest concern is the PR battle. “Never mind the brain splatter on the wall, the Brady Campaign might put this in a mailer.”

  25. Honestly I don’t give a rat’s rear end if somebody wants to off themselves.

    Do it at your own place on your own dime. At least these guys just offed themselves though. I had a good friend of mine killed when someone rented a gun at an indoor range and started shooting other customers before he killed himself.

    I don’t go to indoor ranges anymore.

  26. In Jack London’s “The People of the Abyss”, written in 1903 about the citizens of the east end of London there is a curious mention. Two homeless men London is palling around with say to him they both had considered suicide but couldn’t get hold of a revolver. This was in the days when a failed suicide attempt got you thrown into prison doing hard labor. The judges would berate those who had failed by saying, “Next time choose a taller bridge so you won’t waste taxpayer money again….60 Days!” When I read this years ago I remember thinking how humane a firearm could have actually been to these tramps. They were all half staved, cold, miserable, unemployed and thoroughly depressed with no hope of redemption. I never forgot those words and if it ever comes to it I would be quite thankful to have a “revolver” rather than a greasy rope or plunge into a frigid river with the hopes that it worked.

  27. The range at Camp Allen Marine Corps Base in Norfolk, VA has a 24-hour waiting period before you can even use their range due to a couple of suicides. If you go to the range for the first time you will have to take a gun safety and knowledge test and then wait 24 hours before you can use the range for the first time.

  28. So let me get this right…. some ranges here in FL stopped gun rentals period. While some will rent but not rent to WHITE MALES???? So now we discriminate against white males while a black, yellow, red, etc can walk in the same range and rent a firearm??? WTF is that all about??

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