Manhattan’s Last Gun Range Fights To Survive, Sets Up GoFundMe Page to Pay Rent

When we talked to Cesar Pinero, manager of the Pioneer Shooting Center in Mount Vernon, New York about his facility reopening last week, he mentioned the effort to keep the last gun range in Manhattan afloat. The Westside Rifle & Pistol Range on West 20th Street is the only public range that remains in the borough. It’s still alive and kicking after more than half a century, but just barely.

Like so many businesses in the city, the coronavirus shutdown has hit Westside hard. Manhattan rents aren’t cheap and with zero revenue coming in for a couple of months now, the range is facing an existential crisis with no immediate end in sight. New York City’s hapless, hoplophobic mayor has said that any kind of reopening for the city is still “months away.”

To help Westside stay in business until they can open their doors again, a GoFundMe account has been set up to help the range meet expenses.

From the GoFundMe page:

Having served the New York metropolitan area since 1964, Westside has evolved into a full service shooting range that caters to a variety of shooters. Our members include hobbyists, hunters, and members of the law enforcement community.

We have weathered the constant attack on our 2nd Amendment rights providing New Yorkers with a safe and friendly environment. Westside has always been an oasis for firearms enthusiasts in NYC.

Our shooting community has always been at the heart of our existence. The friendships that have been created, conversations shared, New Yorkers being New Yorkers.

Over the past 56 years we have survived hurricanes, blackouts and of course 9/11. Never have I thought that we would be beaten, that our doors would never open again.

Funds needed are immediate, our lease demands monthly rent payments that we are hard pressed to produce.

This is really basic, If rent isn’t dealt with, our NYC shooting community might not recover. I know West Side won’t be able to.

The Westside Rifle & Pistol Range needs to survive the pandemic economic apocalypse if for no other reason to disappoint the Mayor, City Council and the majority of Manhattan’s population that is probably disgusted by the mere existence of a place in the borough where those who have navigated the hurdles to legal gun ownership can shoot, learn and train.

Please consider supporting Westside and let other people of the gun who you think might be interested know about the effort to keep them in business.

 

Read our post by Brett Solomon documenting his experience with the Project Appleseed training course he took at Westside back in 2011. 

 

comments

  1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    This is what the NRA and other gun groups (NSSF , GOA, NAGR, etc etc etc) should help with, too…keeping and increasing access to ranges…both public and private. Places to go to train and shoot safely.
    Not everyone has land and/or can shoot in their backyard.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “This is what the NRA and other gun groups (NSSF , GOA, NAGR, etc etc etc) should help with, too…keeping and increasing access to ranges…both public and private.”

      Exactly. If not the NRA, then the NSSF can kick in to ensure residents in NYC have access to a shooting range.

      That would make a very nice “Fuck you, Leftists” statement…

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Lordy, I have been shipping out $100 a pop for all manner of donations recently, but I am afraid I cannot bring myself to send a buck to NY. Maybe to help fund a campaign to elect a non-liberal, but still probably not. There’s plenty of money in NYC, let them take care of it.

      1. avatar Kyle says:

        That hundred would go a lot farther to the shooting range, than it would to some repub politician in state that hates repubs.

      2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Just a thought…. How many of NY elites who vote antigun, go there for practice? There’s a bunch like that in the Chicago area.

      3. avatar dr yitz says:

        Don’t write us off here in NY. There a plenty of POTG beneath the surface in NY, we are as adamantly pro2A as you are in the rest of the country. But it’s a very uphill battle here. We do what we can…

  2. avatar billy-bob says:

    Maybe Wayne could donate a suit or two.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Argh! You beat me to it! That was the very comment I was going to post.

    2. avatar Debbie W. says:

      Just what a range that is going under needs…two clowns dodging what matters and beating a dead horse.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        What matters is that the NRA *could* help keep that range open for a pittance compared to what it spends on any number of things that aren’t expressly stated in its charter. But it won’t.

        1. avatar pieslapper says:

          +1

  3. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I’ve often wondered why people would willingly walk into a gas chamber? Or Stripped naked and then just wait to be killed by a shot to the back of the head. “Sheeple” that’s a good term for it for them.

    When High Bridge Arms was forced to close by the gay power city of San Francisco. No one came to protest the city’s action. They were the last gun store in the city.

    Where are all those “Liberal gun owners”???

    1. avatar atom says:

      WTF are you talking about?

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        By asking only tells me that you are a Liberal gun owner.

        1. avatar atom says:

          Not that part, the first paragraph about gas chambers. WTF does that have to do with this?

      2. avatar Casey says:

        He’s talking about the Gay Agenda. He must have head about it during one of our Gay Taco Tuesdays.

        1. avatar Kyle says:

          I missed Taco’s!?

          dammit

        2. avatar atom says:

          Have head? Freudian slip?

        3. avatar Ing says:

          Gay or not, San Francisco definitely does have an agenda in place. And whether you’re gay or not, if you appreciate liberty and your constitutional rights, you should be worried about what they’re up to. The tacos are a diversion.

  4. avatar Frank M. says:

    I’ve never been (I belong to a private club in one of the boroughs) but I know they do a ton of training. I’d wager they’re responsible for bringing a lot of folks down in NYC into the shooting sports and I’d hate to see them shut down. This is why mortgage and rent support from the feds is critical. It’s a disgrace that repubs and dems alike spend a lot of time paying lip service to “small business” but refuse to step up when small business is in danger.

  5. avatar Brodirt says:

    Im a few miles north of Pioneer in Mt. Vernon so I go elsewhere but in Mt. Vernon there’s probably as many shots fired on the streets as there is in the range.

  6. avatar Darkman says:

    Maybe? Firearms owners need to practice on different targets. Why should the Thugs have all the fun. #ThinTheTyrants. Just sayin…3 2 1 Rant.

  7. avatar Alexander says:

    On the other hand, who are the users of a Manhattan gun range? Rich elitist Liberals and RINOS and NYC LEO’s. Do we really care that any of them have any proficiency with a firearm? Why would we want to help the enemy? Let them polish their skills on the streets of their city, like the good citizens of Chicago do.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        Thanks for the Link. I read it. Just as Virginia guns owners who didn’t vote in the last election are responsible for their current situation. Liberal gun owners will be the ones who failed to do their civic responsibility. They have only themselves to blame. They all voted for the tyrant mayor and tyrant city council.

        Conservatives were told long ago that they were not wanted in New York City.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          By reading the still active attached links, makes me think just how naive so many gun owners were back in 2012.

          Eternal vigilance is the price to keep your Liberty.

    1. avatar dr yitz says:

      wrong. when you walk into the west side range you are transported to another part of the country. NRA posters, pro2A banners and all sorts of gun paraphanelia adorn the walls. the staff there are awesome, especially to newbies who they will patiently walk through the basics of pistol handling and shooting.

      i walked into there years ago literally afraid to touch an unloaded pistol. one of the range officers took the time to show me the basic functions and handling techniques and I walked out with a Glock 19. Thousands of rounds and countless hours of range time later I am the owner of multiple firearms, shoot and train regularly and have obtained a NYS carry permit.

      I am hardly a big shot real estate mogul, just a hard working professional in a city full of hard working professionals. the range is full of a cross spectrum of customers. there are current and former law enforcement types, ex military, professionals, old guys and old gals, you name it. there is always a friendly atmosphere there.
      west side range gets a lot of credit for that, being I. the belly of the beast.

  8. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The last and only black owned gun store was forced to close by NY government regulations years ago. Just like High Bridge Arms, founded by an Chinese American Olympic shooter. Robert Chow. Forced to close by SF city government.
    Where are all those so called Liberal gun owners in Liberal areas of the country???

    1. avatar Well, Since You Wonder... says:

      Often, ‘Liberal Gun Owners’ are fighting the good fight, just like you. Or, more likely, more than you are.

      Unlike folks in more moderate or conservative areas, ‘Liberal Gun Owners’ are fighting a huge uphill battle against the ignorant ‘never-even-seen-let-alone-handled-or-used-a-gun-and-believe-the-nonsense-shoveled-by-the-antis’ masses. And, they’re doing so in areas where it’s nearly impossible to educate folks the best way possible, by taking them out to shoot for some actual hands-on time to let them learn that they’re being sold a load of hogwash, and to help them get past their anti-gun indoctrination, and to help them learn it’s okay to admit they like firearms, let alone to support firearms ownership and rights.

      In areas where the population is dense enough you can’t shoot on your own property, and you instead have to go to a heavily restricted, overcrowded range where you might need to book weeks, months, or even years in advance, that’s pretty much not a viable option. Some literally drive to another state to be able to shoot, because there’s so much bullshit in their own. It’s hard to convince folks to come to the range under those circumstances.

      But, It’s not enough to just talk to people and rant about what you think you know better than they do. You have to give them a reason to be invested in the fight. If they don’t come to really *understand* it’s their fight, too, they won’t support gun rights, even in private.

      Labelling ‘Liberal Gun Owners’ and writing them all off as Carolyn McCarthy-level ignorant, or ‘hipster, brie-eating, chablis swillers’ may seem ‘funny’, but it’s counter-productive. (the ‘hipster, brie-eating, chablis swillers’ are *renting* guns — the same crown that think they’re ‘woke’ because they took one bong hit once in college…)

      Some or the *actual* ‘Liberal Gun Owners’ are NRA life members (who want to see Wayne and the other profiteers ousted before they completely destroy the NRA); who regularly contribute to the 2nd Amendment foundation; who actively engage our painfully ignorant state and federal representatives; who turn out en masse to protest the *constant* attacks on our rights; who fund numerous lawsuits that are our only meaningful recourse; who vote against the anti’s every single election.

      Some are folks who want an actual REAL 2nd amendment supporter in the WH, instead of an incompetent poser, do nothing but golf and look in the mirror, wannabee dictator, who will throw the 2nd amendment under the bus at the first opportunity once he no longer needs our support because gun ownership actively interferes with his anti-constitutional agenda.

      Some are Dems because they live in counties or states where the only *actual* elections are the primaries because the Republicans don’t even bother to run a candidate (because they’re in areas that are so overwhelmingly blue that it’s pointless) — and who see the only way to actually fight against the anti-2nd planks and litmus tests is being in the party to begin with). And, they either haven’t yet totally given up and written off the areas they live in, or can’t just chuck in the towel and move because of many real-life reasons (like jobs, or divorces and kids, or the money they have invested in their house and property that they might or might not be able to easily recoup).

      Some even feel strongly enough to put their money where their mouth is and get FFL7s to not only do their best to educate folks and promote firearms knowledge and awareness, but to also manufacture and sell firearms to be able to arm folks as part of the fight to proactively protect and expand firearm rights and ownership. (Turning people into gun owners is the best thing we can to do increase our numbers, and advance our cause.)

      1. avatar anonymous4goodreason says:

        If you do all that and still vote for those who would strip you of your rights, not just 2A but pretty much all rights, you have to be a complete idiot. There’s just no other way to say it.

      2. avatar Ing says:

        For anyone who really is a liberal gun owner and is working to expand the ranks of gun owners, good on you.

        I used to consider myself a liberal gun owner, but the events since I bought my first gun 10 years ago have made me change my mind — not about guns, but about “liberals” (quote marks are very intentional) and the Democratic party.

        By way of analogy, let’s say that you’re on a train traveling overnight, and that due to circumstances beyond your control, you’ll have to share a compartment with one of two people.

        Person number one looks sketchy, smells sweaty, and is carrying a ratty old duffel bag; you’re pretty sure this guy would rob you and/or stab you in the back, given half a chance, and under normal circumstances you wouldn’t want to be seen with him. Person number two is better dressed and is carrying nice new luggage, and looks like somebody you wouldn’t mind sitting next to at a coffee shop, but is muttering out loud about how it’s your fault his ticket got mixed up, you took this compartment from him, you have no right to a bunk or blankets, and how this train would be a better place if you weren’t on it, and he might have to take matters into his own hands.

        You *have* to spend time in an enclosed space with one of these people. There’s no way around it.

        Which one would you choose?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Does the compartment have a window that will open wide enough to pas a body through?

  9. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    As soon as the range is abandoned, the property owner then becomes responsible for clean up of a hazardous materials site.
    This would be very, very expensive.

    Let ‘em have it. With both barrels.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    I used to live a few blocks from the Westside range. It’s a dinky place with little to recommend it except for one important thing — it’s there, right in the beating heart of enemy territory.

    After jumping through enough hoops to exhaust a circus poodle, a mundane might actually be able rent a Ruger 10/22 for a mere $75! A bargain!

    After popping off a small box of .22 ammo (included in the $75 fee), a hipster would then be able either to impress or dismay the brie and chablis crowd at his or her favorite fern bar.

    1. avatar dr yitz says:

      nonsense. if you’re a member there you can bring your own pistol there to shoot or borrow one of theirs. they rarely bother to charge for the rentals. it’s not a pretty place but the camaraderie and excellent staff more than make up for it. if I want pretty I can go to a museum.

  11. avatar Stephen Craig says:

    The Go Fund Me link in the article is not working. It takes you to another article about something different.

    1. avatar Stephen Craig says:

      Here is the link if anyone is interested. https://www.gofundme.com/f/west-side-rifle-and-pistol-range-inc

  12. avatar former water walker says:

    Sorry they’re closing…

  13. avatar Jimmy Beam says:

    Fewer shooters in Manhattan, more in the rest of the country. Sounds like a win win to me.

  14. avatar Frank says:

    Sent a link to this article to the NYSRPA and also did a search on this range on their site, there was nothing that I could find. Maybe if local concerns were promoted by local organizations…..

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      It could be the search engine.
      I tried to find articles on “exemptions” for forced mask wearing, The only things that popped up were positive for mask laws. BTW all are exempt with a “medical” reason, in Illinois. AND it’s against the law to ask you what your medical issue is.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Asking would violate HIPPA.

        I would note though that of all the places to wear some sort of breathing filtration device, an indoor range is one of them just for all the lead in the air.

        Interestingly, masks for this purpose are available and designed not to interfere with shooting. They were originally made for SF guys running loads of shoot house training because the Army started to detect mild lead poisoning in that population.

  15. avatar alan says:

    NYC is a monste r mash graveyard smash of pure Stalinist hypocrisy.NYC is a museum of every moral legal political real estate and spiritual felony wrong ever conceived….The West Side Rifle and pistol club always had fabulous Italians -Sicilians-fee thinker-freedom -folks-republicans -conservatives and right wing Christians back in the day when the NYPD actually were permitted to fight street crime–not to be the jack booted enforcers of the nyc real estate supermob. Years ago you could take a Utah concealed carry course- get fingerprinted -pay your–150 bucks–get–your–license-in -the–mail-and watch models and mostly uberrich folk come on in and pay hyper exorbitant fees to shoot a little-but fault lies not with wsrp—-…its the.*.thought-leaders*in manhattan and Albany—remember voters get more big government Stalinism no matter who they think theyre voting for…its like that..and that’s the way it is–its not the way-ah–ha- aha-ha- we like –it..same with dr.strangelove in the offal office and all–hey guys- ladies–its not over till the fat lady sings..

  16. avatar strych9 says:

    I’m curious how long people will support the range. I’m sure the rent is astronomically high and in NYC I imagine that the Mayor will go out of his way to “extend safety measures” just to try to bankrupt such a business.

    I mean, this is the dude that crashed a Rabbi’s funeral with cops to break up the service. I don’t think there much in the way of a moral atrocity that’s beyond him.

    1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      There are plenty of wealthy conservatives in Manhattan.

      Get a few of them together to buy a building for cash, sweeten the deal for the regulating authorites by making the majority of the space nice, clean, low-income housing, and build the end-all of *sweet* high-end gun range in the basement and sub-basement. Make it like “The Range at Austin” but in Manhattan.

      Then charge reasonable fees and watch the Leftist heads *explode*… 🙂

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Fair point.

  17. avatar Hannibal says:

    It won’t help that NYC can’t (well, “isn’t”) prohibiting people from taking their guns out of the city anymore. I imagine the pricing everywhere else is better.

  18. avatar salesjet says:

    NYC is a tragedy of sorts. We’d be sorry to see the range close.

  19. avatar Oliver says:

    I donated. I’m also a member. I agree, The Westside Range may not be glitz and glamour, rather its more hard scrabble like an old school boxing gym. It’s been there longer than most internet users have been alive and more than makes up for it by the awesome people who work there and are willing to help anyone who is both new and old to shooting. It would be a damn shame if it folded. It’s basically the last Red Country refuge located in the heart of NYC and thus a huge FU to city hall. Its damn easy to start a range in Arizona or any other gun rights friendly state and place a giant NRA sticker or Gadsen Flag on your door and know you have the support of the locals. Its something else to do this in midtown Manhattan and keep doing it since the Kennedy administration. For that alone they deserve your support. Oh, they also have free coffee and snacks, whether you shoot or not 🙂

    The link again:
    https://www.gofundme.com/f/west-side-rifle-and-pistol-range-inc

    1. avatar dr yitz says:

      Yeah, free fresh coffee and pretzels and fig newton bars. Props to range officers John and Johnson, who are just great.

      As a point of interest, Ray Donovan takes his daughter there in the first episode of the final season.

      When I escape to my upstate home and shoot in the woods behind my home I have to keep an eye out for bears the whole time. Makes me miss West Side 😉

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