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 Jessica Alba (courtesy

You can talk about gun rights until you’re blue in the face. God knows we do. But at the end of the proverbial day, it’s boots on the ground that counts. The more people who own and shoot guns, the safer Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. As empty shelves and NICS numbers indicate, a lot of people are buying guns and ammo. As reports, scarce range space is another indication that gun culture may be eating gun control strategy for lunch. “Minnesota’s growing legions of gun owners are increasingly packing gun ranges and triggering an intense demand for new ones. The heated debate over stricter gun regulations nationally fueled a dramatic spike in gun permits and firearm sales locally . . .

They’re competing for time at crowded metro ranges with a new generation of shooters who’ve helped make school target teams the fastest-growing sport in the state. That’s leaving people like Gary Morrison of Otsego and his teenage daughter, who is on a target shooting team, fed up with years of long drives and waits. So this month, he and his business ­partner, Steve Benoit, are starting construction on a new indoor gun range in Rogers . . .

But even with new places to shoot in the Twin Cities, some gun owners say it barely addresses the demand. At Bill’s Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale this winter, people were waiting an average of 2½ hours for a lane.

“These ranges are overrun,” said Dave Larson of Plymouth, a DNR-certified gun safety instructor who fought for a new state law requiring police gun ranges to open for youth classes. “We continue to be short of ranges in the metro.”

It’s a pattern that’s being repeated around the country. And it’s not just about gun control legislation scaring people into trigger time. It’s about fun. As NPR postulated back in January, Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys? Yes. Yes they are.

And here’s another data point: these crowded ranges would be even more crowded if not for the ammo shortage. People who can’t replenish their ammo supplies are shooting less. When the ammo’s available in greater quantities, range time will become even harder to find. Until it isn’t, when new ranges open up.

God bless America. And, I gotta say, Call of Duty.

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  1. I’ve been making this case for years here on TTAG and elsewhere. We need more gun owners who will vote out the disarmament fascists.

    The strategy of fighting gun control disarmament in the courts over the past 50 years has been a slowly losing one. A step back takes only hours, as we saw here in NY. A step forward by challenging in court takes years and the outcome uncertain. Even when the ruling is favorable, the compliance is slow-walked or outright ignored as we see in IL.

    Gun ownership has been surging for the past 5 years and the surge may have exploded in the past 8 months. Now, it remains to be seen if this will have any democratic popular effect. Is it enough? Will it continue to grow?

    • Careful. “Gun owner” does not necessarily equal “pro-2A.” Someone who enjoys shooting her Glock or J-frame may think a magazine limit or “assault weapon ban” is fine. After all, it doesn’t affect her. And think of the children!

      We need to evangelize carrying. Carrying means training. It means you have to govern your actions and emotions. It means awareness. And it’s a step that intimidates many people for these reasons.

      Anyone can hit the range to “blow off steam.” That’s good for getting over the idea that a gun can “go off” on its own. It’s great in showing serious gun owners as safety-minded neighbors instead of raging terrorists. But if you want to move Americans from the “common sense gun control” column to the “Molon Labe” column, get them to carry.

  2. no, overwhelmingly the ground game is being lost. 100 counties in the USA (of 3100) – urban places deep in gun control territory like Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and so on – delivered the Dems 10 million votes in 2012 (Obama only won by 3.3 million). 88% of these counties voted for Obama. These are also the most urban areas, where 70% of the homicide occurs.

    Minnesota is nice, but its frankly not where the boots count. These 100 counties account for 55% of the population. Cities like Chicago and NYC have an enormous influence on state-wide elections and legislation. Until there is a significant fraction of boots in urban areas, we will continue to see legislative initiatives dominated by gun control minded people.

    • “Democrat = Anti-Gun” it’s too simplistic. We can make generalizations, but doing so ignores the fact that many Democrats are gun owners. Every new gun owner is another vote in support of gun rights, regardless of where they live or their party affiliation.

      • i agree. My point is that its the Democrats in places like Baltimore City and PG County (and Chicago, Philly, etc.) that need to be converted. Not Democrats in suburban and rural areas. Not enough of them.

        • You are dead-on. Urbanization is the root of the issue here. Urbanization directly leads to a reduction in independence and self-reliance. Firearms are a good litmus test for both of those traits in that they 1) provide many additional options for securing resources during an upset in traditional urban logistics services and 2) provide a force equalization measure for security purposes. Those in areas are so acclimated to picking up their food stamps and going to the corner market or getting into their Range Rover/Lexus/Acura SUV, picking up their Chai Tea Latte and then to Whole Foods they don’t even consider alternatives if (when) those outlets run dry. Additionally, they see the police as their main/only security.

          The #1 goal of every government organization is to grow itself. Our urban centers offer the perfect opportunity for government to demonstrate value to its customers, its citizens, and convince them to allocate that organization more resources and power.

          Make no mistake, our only hope of saving this country from the decline outlined by the blueprint Europe has provided is to educate and indoctrinate EVERY citizen, particularly those in urban locales, in thinking for themselves, expanding their self-reliance and independence and pushing back from the government teet. Sadly, any product of nature follows the path of least resistance.

        • Well, Philly and Chicago should be our targets. Surmounting the gun restrictions in a city such as New York may not be in the cards – but with state preemption of firearm laws in Philadelphia, and state preemption of handgun laws in Illinois — we actually have a shot at converting folks, as those who want to become gun-owners still have that option.

      • Democrat and anti-gun run pretty damn close. There are pro- gun Dems and anti-gun Repubs, but they are heavily in the minority. Hence, a Dem vote directly supports gun control in many cases. Examples: Obama, Holder, Feinstein, Yee, DeLeon, Boxer, etc. There are precious few worthwhile politicians: Ron Paul, Scott Walker, etc.

      • I see far too many Democrat gun owners still voting for gun grabbers and use gay marriage and abortion as their reason for doing so. Sorry, but that doesn’t fly for me. Abortion was sorted out years ago and gay marriage is getting sorted out now and is going to happen within the next 5 years. How about we vote for people who will protect our right to protect every other right we have instead of copping out and using other issues as a justification for voting for gun grabbers.

        • They want to hold the reins of the war machine. According to the day Obama got elected, that’s the only way it can be used to kill children for good instead of Republican evil.

          That’s not what they admit flat out, but if you listen carefully it’s basically the gist. Dead kids under Dem boot – all for the greater good, dead kids under Repug boot – bad.

  3. How do you get more gun owners in those 100 counties like Cook when they don’t let you own them without going through a mine field/obsticle course/bank account draining PITA process.
    Really, how do we beat this C-22?
    More ATF-4473’s??

    • I am supportive of the Armed Citizen project but frankly I think it is too focused on places where gun rights is already reasonably strong – Houston, Tuscon. It needs to expand into places like Detroit or Baltimore. Detroit would be a great lab because they just declared bankruptcy and citizens will be fending for themselves in terms of police. Once you have some success someplace like Baltimore or Detroit, then it becomes easier to use it as a model for other cities.

      But i doubt much is going to change until the residents (and former residents) get fed up with the political corruption and do-nothing prayer marches and protests. People don’t take action so long as its easier to just move to the suburbs.

      • Detroit isn’t really a gun control mecca, all of Michigan is preempted so Detroit has the same gun laws as the middle of nowhere in the upper peninsula. It’s shall issue and no waiting periods and the only restrictions are on sbr/sbs and some destructive devices.

        The problem is that the few law abiding citizens left are too broke to afford a used hi point in most cases, those are the ones we need to arm.

        On a sidenote, Detroit is the self defense capital of the country already; About 10% of all shootings are deemed justified, last year they had just over 40 justified homicides and many more justified shootings.

  4. I’m one of those that’s shooting less than I’d like due to ammo. My new apartment that I got into in March is <5 minutes from one of the best indoor ranges in town, and every time I've been there, they've been on at least a 30 min wait, and often double that.

    • Are you in Orlando? If you have to wait 30-60 min just to get on the range, you might as well just drive to Tampa/Brandon. I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait to get on any of the pistol ranges. Last Sunday I was at ShootStraight (near I-4 and 301) and there were maybe 3 other people occupying stalls. Food for thought if you don’t mind the drive.

      • Is there a way to present this information to prospective business owners? Forget that soft ice cream stand, “winters are so slow – shooting ranges are BOOMING in the winter, and all year long! And it’s air conditioned!”

  5. Rogers, MN (close to Otsego) has a Cabelas and a gander mountain gun super store. Good for that area that they are going to be able to have a symbiotic relationship – a couple places to buy and a range to use, lucky them. I love Minnesota for being mostly gun tolerant – which is weird for us having voted in so many democrats.

    • The reason for so many democrats in MN isn’t social, its financial. Lots of farmers, here. In MN, the democratic party has positioned itself as a friend of farmers. If the republican party had done so, this state would be red.

      • The problem with that is that “paying people to not produce” is antithetical to the Republican mindset.

        • Huh. It sure seems like we’re paying plenty of Republican politicians to not produce. Maybe it’s not so antithetical after all.

  6. “People who can’t replenish their ammo supplies are shooting less.”


    That’s why they want ammo background checks and permits and taxes here in Kommiefornia.

  7. Every time the grabbers push for more gun control the People of the Gun push back, harder. The 68 GCA resulted in a push back that wound up with most states being shall issue. The 94 AWB helped this but what it also did was bring evil black rifles into the mainstream and onto the wish lists of people that had never shown an interest before. With the possible exception of Russ Bixby I may be the only guy in America that doesn’t want an EBR and a lot of that popularity is due to the 94 AWB.

    The grabbers appear to be too dumb to figure it out, but they’re helping the People of the Gun. A few more hmmmmmmmm’s and low budget daves and mikeybnumbers and we may yet have constitutional carry.

    • I’d love to share your optimism, but CA and NY have terrible gun laws. It’s only a matter of time before another psycho shoots up a school, and more dumba$$ gun laws will come down the pike in states controlled by Dems and progressives. I see the successes getting better, the failures getting worse, and the chasm between free states and slave states growing further.

  8. Ah, sitting on the deck having coffee, the breeze is just right, I can hear someone at the range a bit over a mile away. Think I’ll fill a thermos and join them.

  9. Right now the closest decent range is an hour drive away. Which is why I’m so happy a new facility will be opening in a few months five minutes from my house. In suburban New York, no less.

  10. Took a small group to the range today from the local gay community here. They all had an excellent time and a better understanding of gun ownership. One of them even purchased an SR9 they were on the fence about. Either way, range was packed full. We got lucky to get two lanes for us.

  11. Whilst we are making some progress we also are contending with slime ball politicians impeding our path at every turn. This morning I read Sen. McCain ‘s comments on CNN regards stand your ground laws. This spineless RINO POS wants AZ to “reevluate ” their law. How do doo doo heads like him keep getting elected?

  12. “As NPR postulated back in January, Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys? Yes. Yes they are.”


    Bowling alleys have beer. 😉

    • Which is the only reason I like bowling better than shooting.

      And I have yet to see anyone attacked by a drunk with a bowling ball. Food for thought. Shooting ranges should… nah. Never happen in such an irrational, emotionally-charged time such as now.

      Too bad. But I’m sure laser shooting ranges could serve cold, golden refreshment!

      • Now that you mention it, I’ve never heard of anyone shot in a bowling alley either. 😉

        But a soft ice cream stand… hmmmm….

  13. I’d like to offer a data point from the PRM (People’s Republic of Massachusetts). One of my very oldest friends and his 12 year old son came in from CA for a visit this week so I invited them up to my club for some range time. My friend has only fired a gun a couple of times in his life and his son never has. My friend is not at all what could be characterized as “pro gun”. That said, he is reasonably open minded and not averse to enjoying himself. He accepted the invitation at the strong urging of his son.

    Well, it was an absolutely beautiful day here, made all the more so with the heat wave that we’ve been experiencing having finally broken last night, giving us clear skies, much lower humidity and temperatures in the low 80”s.

    My daughter and I got to the range well over an hour before my friends were to arrive so that we could spend some time together on the archery range using her 25# recurve bow. When we arrived I was amazed to see that the parking area was absolutely packed and the place was jumpin’. I wondered what in Heaven’s name was going on as we drove over to the archery ranges. We’d find out soon enough. Once we had parked we set up our stuff and we had a great time driving arrows into the bales. I was very gratified to see her scoring tighten up considerably as we progressed through the session.

    As we were shooting arrows a couple of folks from the club came by for a little chit chat and we were told that all of the hubbub was due to the club sponsoring a Women on Target event. It turns out that they had 37 women there to spend a very full day learning firearm safety, marksmanship and whatnot, with breakfast and lunch included. Along with a bunch of other club volunteers there to help with logistics, there was an additional 30 or so certified instructors on hand to help out at the various stations for rifle, pistol, shotgun and who knows what else. Pretty cool.

    As one would expect on such a lovely day, there were a lot of regular members doing their own thing at the various ranges and a there was also a group of 16 or 18 new members to the club to get qualified for using the 200/300 yard range. Our club now has over 1600 members.

    After we were done with archery, we went over to the 7/15 yard range to get set up for our friends arrival. A few others were there trying out some new guns and working on technique and they graciously afforded us ample space to work with our friends. Once they arrived we got them squared away with eyes and ears, went over Cooper’s 4 , the range rules and some fundamentals. We started them out with my daughter’s 10/22 take down and ran a couple of hundred rounds though that, which they enjoyed very much. It wasn’t long before they were getting most of their rounds on paper at 10 yards (8 ½ x 11 B-27 centers that I print out at work). From there we switched over to my 226 with the .22 conversion. We ran about 10 mags through that and then got tooled up to run the 226 in 9mm. Each got to put a couple of mags of 9 down range and they seemed to be managing recoil OK though their shots were pretty scattered, as one might expect from neophytes taking their first crack at a centerfire pistol. I wasn’t looking to turn them into marksmen in one session, just allow them to gain some familiarity and have some fun.

    At this point another friend joined us, having come fresh from qualifying at the 200/300 range with his Stag Model 6 and Vortex scope. For our shooting pleasure he brought along his 8”, stainless Colt Anaconda with some .44 spl cowboy loads and some .44 mag 240 gr. JSP. What an exquisite and beastly firearm, and what a blast to shoot. At 59 ounces it’s a pretty serious piece of machinery and the trigger is nothing short of sublime. I put a few rounds of each load through it to demonstrate and it proved to be marvelously accurate. Our kids were eager, and just a little apprehensive, to give it a try. My daughter and my friend’s son each fired a round of the cowboy load from the isosceles stance and each handled it very well. Then they got to try one of the mag loads while sitting at the bench and off of a sand bag with a two handed grip. They handled that just fine too and had ear to ear smiles.

    Lastly, we switched over to my Armalite M15A4 NM. Everybody enjoyed blasting away a few mags with the EBR. All in all we spent a little over two hours together. It went way too fast.

    Regrettably, at this point we had to wrap things up as we each had other engagements to attend to. And sadly, they didn’t get to have a go at my 617 or 686. Perhaps another time, I hope. Still, everyone had a very good time and my friend and his son came away from the experience with a new perspective on, and appreciation of, our heritage and freedoms. As we parted, I gave my friend’s son a little reading material for the flight home. There was Cooper’s rules along with some other pithy bits and several pages of quotes from a wide variety of verified sources. I also gave him a copy of Dave Kopel’s recent piece entitled “Ancient Hebrew Militia Law” in the Denver University Law Review. My friend’s son will be having his bar mitzvah next year and I thought it might be a timely piece of thought provoking material touching on his heritage; something that they probably don’t touch on too deeply in Hebrew school.

    So, to make a long story short and address the question above, yes, our ground game is getting better and reaching further. Better still, our tribe and our culture, at least in this regard, is growing much faster than theirs is. Slowly but surely, despite the setbacks and the powers that are aligned against us, we are winning. Stay strong, stay focused, keep the faith and take a friend or loved one to the range, we’ll all be the better for it.

  14. More people owning guns does not unto itself mean less harboring for gun control. It was easier to get gun control in the past when a larger percentage of the population owned guns. What counts is how many support, and understand, the Second Amendment and that “assault weapon” is a nonsense term.


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