Private range rules: I need suggestions


October 3, 2006, 09:27 AM
Background: The Company I work for allowed the employees to build a shooting range on company property. Use of the range is supposed to be limited to employees and law enforcement only. The range has been open close to 15 years with no incidents until last Sunday when an employee had an ND and shot himself in the leg and foot (he will recover fully). We all had a bad feeling about the future of our little private shooting spot, and this morning we got the bad and hopefully good news

The bad news came in an email this morning: “The CEO has directed that all use of the shooting pit be suspended, effective immediately. He further directed that a Committee be formed to revisit the policies governing use of this facility. Once the Committee’s recommendations are received, they will be presented to Sunflower’s Board of Directors for further consideration.”

The good news: As I was getting my first cup of coffee one of the company managers approached me and asked me to serve on the committee.

I could use suggestions to present to the board. Waivers? What if you bring a non-employee guest?

One problem is security; we have no way of controlling who uses the area. Employees are supposed to check in before going to the range but plenty of local folks know about it and show up uninvited. The company has always been loath to pursue trespassing charges as a matter of public relations. The range sits on a part of 10,000 acres of company property; no way can we keep an eye on it all the time. I will suggest putting a locking gate across the entrance road but a determined individual can find a way around that.

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October 3, 2006, 09:41 AM
Here are my thoughts (not a lawyer, YMMV, etc)

Put up a locking gate. This at least shows an attempt at controlling access. If one of the local yokels goes in there and damages himself you have a good argument that he was trespassing anyway.
Post the area No Trespassing, if it's not already posted. Same as above.
Have company policy stating that using the range requires signing a waiver of liability against the company. Included in that waiver is acceptance of a codified set of range rules. (HINT: Find out what the range rules are for the local police range and use the same set. If there ever was suit brought the rules would be more defendable)
Set a limit on the number of guests an employee can bring (the gun club I belong to uses two), as well as making it the employee's responsibility to notify the guests of the rules as well as responsible for the guest's actions.
Get a lawyer (preferably the same one the corporation uses) to look over the planned changes and give a legal 'okie dokie' to them.

Essentially what I think the company wants is a way to allow it's employees to use the land, without putting their corporate neck on the legal chopping block.

October 3, 2006, 09:44 AM
Form a range committe with the manager on it.

Consider leasing the range property from the company to reduce their liability. This may require the "members" to form a not for profit corp.

Post the area as a firing range and against trespassing.

Put a lock on the gate and issue keys to "members".

Get liability insurance that all members contribute to paying.

Have members and guests sign liability releases. Have copies at the gate to the range in a document box with a sign posted to allow no one on the range that has not completed a release.

Contact the NRA and NASR for technical and management help.

October 3, 2006, 09:57 AM
My rifle range is about a 10 acre, self-policed range. There is a fence all the way around it with combo lock on the gate. No tresspassing signs are posted and tresspassers will be prosecuted with armed felony tresspassing. This seems to ensure that only members ever show up. Other measures such as insurance as mentioned before sound like good ideas too...

October 10, 2006, 06:29 PM
Had our first committee meeting this morning. The chairperson is a very pro-gun manager, he's also in charge of security. The CEO and one of the VP's apparently don't really like the fact there is a range on the plant site but it was there before they were.
We drafted some proposals including:
Anyone who uses the range must sign a waver.
Employees may bring guests but no non-employees will be granted range privileges.
Put a gate across the road, only those with permission cards will have a key.

A couple of proposals I manage to kill:
No lone shooters, must bring a 'buddy'. I pointed out the days I'm off I may not be able to find someone to go with me therefore my day at the range is not going to happen. Yeah it's risky but we assume the risk (cell phones do not work in the shooting "pit").

No pistol grip shotguns. ***? Answer: muzzle control is more difficult than with a full stocked shotgun. I pointed out that it's no more difficult than a handgun.

Found out the range will be closed permanently in a year or so when new construction on the plant site begins. (Power generation plant, three new units going in over the next several years).

The manager on the committee has already been scoping out sites for a new location.

October 10, 2006, 06:34 PM
Almost forgot: I asked the manager what happens in January when CCW comes to Kanas - will we be able to bring our carry weapons onto the plant site? I had already assumed we would not be able to carry in the workplace but would need to be able to leave the weapon locked in our vehicle.

His reply; "Don't see why not. I've applied for my CCW, carry a piece in my vehicle every day".

Another note: found out the manager who asked me to serve on the committee has a CCW back in Kentucky. Keeps a Glock in his desk drawer.

Larry Ashcraft
October 10, 2006, 06:46 PM
My oldest daughter is an insurance professional (she answers phone questions about policies). At her last training class she asked about liability waivers (she was asking specifically about the Colorado get together at our house).

The company rep or whoever it was told her that liability waivers are actually a bad thing in that situation. The participants come in knowing they are going to participate in a somewhat hazardous activity. A waiver could be just an invitation to a lawsuit if somebody actually does get hurt.

The way I understood it, if Justin shoots Zundfolge at my house, then Zundfolge would sue Justin. If they had signed waivers, Zundfolge would then have grounds to sue me (the host).

I may have that all wrong, but that's the way I understood it. You may want the company to check with their insurance company.

October 10, 2006, 06:51 PM
Another thought, stop letting cops use it. No point in needless liability for the company.

October 10, 2006, 07:03 PM
Insist that all shooters have signed a release. If an employee brings a guest and doesn't get a release signed prior to shooting provide for a penalty. Perhaps loss of range privilages for a period of time for the employee. Make sure everyone takes the rules very seriously. If another incident occurs it could kill any chances of a new range being allowed after this one is gone.

October 10, 2006, 07:07 PM
Larry! Long time no see.
Our CEO is a laywer, if there's a problem he'll be sure to point it out.
Another point I made to present to the CEO and the board of directors was that in the fifteen years the range has been in operation there had only been this one accident. Meanwhile, how many employees children and other have been given the opportunity and facilities to learn safe
handling of firearms?

Erebus: That was discussed. It was suggested that the employee present would assume responsibility for any and all guest actions. Which may also be relivant to Larry's comment.

Which brings me to SOMEKID:
The local PD that uses the range is a very small department, three or four cops. It's called "value added" by corporate. The more community involvoment they display the more resistance to the Sierra Club and others they muster. I want the Sheriffs dept. to be granted access. They have full auto M14's. If you should show up while they're there it's taxpayer ammo they're shooting. ;)

October 10, 2006, 10:22 PM
Get some statistics on accidents at your work for the past 15 years. I'll wager there have been more on the job injuries than shooting range injuries. Be careful, though. Some folks might freak if they find out their desk is more dangerous than a shooting range. ;-)

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