Home, Home on the Range

With temperatures climbing, even here in the northeast, we’re headed out to the range in droves.  Biathletes may boast a year-round range practice schedule and hunters may turn tree-sitting into an X game, but the average gun owner is now in the warm weather range period.

So just what is a “range,” anyway?

A business, generally in one form of incorporation or another, the range has a physical location, equipment, and often a membership.  Many range facilities have a small and long-standing Board of Directors with typical committees like “Membership Committee” and “Events Committee.”  Most ranges test firearms proficiency as part of membership criteria.

The sleeper issue with ranges tends to be the physical property owned or leased by the range company.  And the sleeper topic is “zoning,” which relates to the intersection between municipal designations of land use and the activities conducted at the range.  For example, many ranges are limited in the hours of operation by noise or “nuisance” ordinances that designate the days and hours noise can be made that carries a certain distance.  The larger the land holdings of the range, generally, the greater the autonomy of the range company to self-determine its operations.

Another hot topic for ranges is liability.  As with any offering to the public or to membership or in relationship to a surrounding community, a range can be held liable under principles of “tort law.”  Was that really a stray bullet that hit a woman’s car door on the street a quarter mile up the road?  In this area of the law, the questions tend less to be about questionable facts than about the “standard of care” to be imposed upon a range, whether standard negligence or a higher standard like “strict liability” for an “ultra-hazardous activity.”

Closer to home, don’t ignore the challenge presented by grabbing ammo and cleaning supplies.  The Fourth of July is on a Friday and you don’t want to come up short for the weekend.  Enjoy!