CARLSBAD — Ready, aim and approved.
The city’s first indoor gun ranged was given the green light Tuesday for a conditional use permit as the City Council unanimously approved Gunther Guns’ request.
After two-and-a-half years of applications, meetings and setting up regulations, Gunther Guns was approved for its 16-lane indoor range.
“We are very, very happy about it,” said Gregg Gunther, who owns the business with his wife, Lisa. “This has been a long two-and-a-half years process. We didn’t think, quite frankly, it would ever get done.”
Before Carlsbad’s lone gun store can open its range, Gunther said they must acquire the building permits for the build out. The cost, he said, is $100,000.
Construction of the range, he estimated, would cost “several million” and is expected to open in about 18 months.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, that’s for sure,” Gunther said. “It’s going to be a year-and-a-half before someone can come in here and shoot. It’s a big project.”
Under the permit, the business will allow for a static range, meaning shooters can only stand, sit and lay down. No tactical shooting is allowed.
The range includes eight, 25-yard lanes and eight 20-yard lanes. It must follow local, state and federal regulations.
To stop the bullets, a rubber stop, or trap, will be installed, Gunther said. It’s widely used among ranges and consists of granulated rubber and helps with noise reduction and bullet residue.
“It’s the most common stops used to contain bullets inside the building,” Gunther said. “Some people were concerned the buildings were too close. There are some ranges in California built in strip malls.”
Jason Goff, associate planner for the city, prepared a 400-plus-page document detailing every regulation from noise to chemical removal.
Mike Howes, the Gunther’s attorney, said it was the most thorough report he’s come across in 30 years of practicing law.
Howes, Gunther said, was instrumental in working through the process with the city and gathering information about other ranges and regulations so the Gunther’s could install their own.
“They donated over, easily, 120 hours of time,” Gunther added. “It wasn’t about the gun issue, it was about helping a struggling small business person.”
The store was also approved for an additional 350-square feet of retail space, but Gunther said the range provides another revenue stream.
He said he’s not worried about the competition, as there are just a few ranges in San Diego and only one, Iron Sights in Oceanside, in North County.
“We can train people to use firearms safely,” Gunther added. “It’s going to be a substantial added revenue stream. We are going to be attracting Carlsbad, Encinitas and even Rancho Santa Fe.”