To start out your work week, I want to highlight two positive mainstream media stories on new shooting ranges in North Carolina. One of these ranges is even in a high school!
The first story comes down east in Johnston County where Smithfield-Selma High School just installed an air gun range for their NJROTC program. Part of the money to develop this range came from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
The second story comes from Shelby where the Foothills Public Shooting Complex had its grand opening last week. The range was developed as a joint project between Cleveland County and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
The range features three 50-yard pistol ranges, two skeet/trap/pistol ranges, a 250-yard rifle range, and a 3-D archery range. The range can handle 60 shooters at one time.
500 people showed up on Tuesday for the grand opening.
Johnny Hutchins, a Cleveland County commissioner who came up with the idea for a shooting range seven years ago, believes it will become an economic driver for the county.Given the range is little more than an hour's drive away, I can see me taking more than a few day trips down there. It is hard to imagine a 250-yard rifle range available where you don't have to be a member of a club to use it.
“I’m hoping we can attract a national archery and a national pistol match in the next 12 months,” he said. “We will see start seeing local matches coming up pretty quick.”
All told, 60 people can shoot at once from multiple stands. Safety officers oversee the ranges. The complex has an office and classroom, concession building and restrooms. Cost is $10 a day for adults; $5 for children 17 and under; seniors, veterans and law enforcement officers also pay $5. The public on Wednesday began bringing their own firearms for shooting.
“Man, this is nice,” said Larry Harrington of Claremont in Catawba County, waiting to shoot at the skeet range. Visitors shot for free Tuesday with provided firearms. “It would be a good place for new shooters to learn to shoot.”