MINNEAPOLIS — Guns are a contentious issue in a lot of places, but more Twin Cities suburbs are pulling the trigger on new indoor shooting ranges available to the public, doubling the number in the last two years. Six of 10 indoor gun ranges in the metro area have been approved since 2013, two in the past three months. The city of Ramsey even OK’d an 18,000 square foot range next to a day care center.
“There’s been a surge in demand for shooting – a lot of new shooters, a lot of new women shooters,” said Andrew Rothman, a firearms instructor and Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance president. “The trend has been toward more ranges, and the indoor ranges are getting nicer. They’re getting more upscale.”
The often massive facilities offer more than target practice. They also feature sales of firearms and ammo, gun safety training, permit-to-carry classes and private shooting lanes. Once they get past noise and safety questions, cities typically treat the necessary permits and approvals as a straightforward business....
The trend follows an explosion in concealed carry permits. More than 200,000 Minnesotans now hold permits that allow them to carry handguns, twice as many as originally projected by the state. Personal safety and Second Amendment concerns drive the demand for more outlets.
“Politicians are openly taking aggressive stances hostile to our constitutionally guaranteed rights,” Carter said. “So many members of the public feel that they need to buy a firearm now before legislatures (state or federal) make them illegal. The result is that these two forces have increased the demand for firearms, ammunition, training, and places to practice.”