Gun range needed

Ken Prentice is a target shooter and community activist who has worked against excessive costs for public records requests.

We awoke one morning to another stunning day here in the Truckee Meadows—YEE HAW!

Then, we managed to accidentally burn down an entire community and be arrested on felony charges because the Regional Shooting Facility is closed to the public. It is actually open seven days a week, but the public is refused most weekday access to our own range even during this terribly dangerous fire season.

The cost to fight the tiny Jasper fire started by a spark from target shooters was just under $1 million, according to Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, and the Bureau of Land Managment, both of which like the idea of opening this range up to the public seven days a week. Our proposal is a fire season safety measure that would be a pretty simple solution to help us all shoot more safely—and keep us from felony charges.

We don’t need millions of dollars or years of debate to make this work.

You see, we found out that the Regional Shooting Facility on the Pyramid Highway is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. each week to the public even during this critical fire season. However, it’s open those days for the FBI, DEA, ATF, Homeland Security and others, which equates to about 40 percent of the range’s time being unavailable to the public. Those agencies pay for their range time. The range lost $40,000 dollars last year. It is being subsidized by the county.

Washoe County is also cutting the range’s budget and eliminating employees. If you do not raise your voice, your Washoe County Shooting Facility will be downsized into nonexistence. Don’t kid yourself.

What if we raised the fees for law enforcement use and eliminate the subsidy? What if we actually sent the law enforcement agencies down to take over the dysfunctional Carson City Gun Range, or to the Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Threat Analysis Center or the Regional Public Safety Training Center on Spectrum Boulevard during fire season?

I went to our Pyramid Highway range. I found one soda machine, otherwise no other nourishment that might help with additional revenue. I counted more than 20 vehicles with folks driving from the other side of Carson City to the only fire/spark safe outdoor public facility available in our region that they knew. Citizens driving over a hundred miles roundtrip to help us all be a little safer from fire danger? Responsible. You bet.

A quick vote from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners, motivated by all of us calling, emailing and attending every community meeting available, contacting county managers—especially Washoe Parks operations director Eric Crump—can assist responsible gun sport enthusiasts, many of whom are current/former law enforcement/fire/military, heading out to the boonies for a day of fun, to stay out of jail and help keep our communities that much safer.

What say you?