SF Chronicle runs positive, pro-shooting range article!


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stv
May 7, 2004, 05:47 PM
:eek:

This is one of the most well-balanced articles regarding guns I've ever read in this liberal rag. I wrote the author an email thanking him for his well-written article.

This is the range I go to about every other week. They do get a mix of people, from Japanese tourists who have never held a gun before, to the regulars working on their loads and police and Sheriff's deputies practicing drills.

link (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/05/07/WBG9T6FB3N1.DTL)

Until recently, Steve Johnston of Foster City had never shot a gun. But here he was on a Tuesday evening at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range and Gun Shop, in South San Francisco, ready to take an introductory class in firearms, then to blast a target on the indoor range with a .22-caliber pistol.

"I thought it'd be something to try," said Johnston, 35, who was accompanied by his father, also named Steve Johnston. He is 57, and has firearm experience.

Jackson Arms has occupied a space in a nondescript office park next to Highway 101 since the early 1990s, according to owner Jason Remolona, who began working there in the mid-1990s. The previous owner sold the shop three years ago and left the Bay Area because he felt it politically unfriendly to gun ownership, Remolona said.

The range is the only one of its kind locally; there are others in Santa Clara County, San Leandro and elsewhere in the Bay Area, Remolona said. It draws a crowd of shooting enthusiasts and people seeking instruction in self- defense. In years past, shooters were mostly "older white gentlemen in their 50s and 60s," Remolona said, but now include people of all ethnicities and ages. Said Shaun Briscoe, 27, an ammunitions expert at the store, "It's like San Francisco itself."

Some customers, such as the Johnstons, take half-hour introductory classes offered twice a day and three times on weekends, then rent handguns to fire on the range. Individual handgun rental runs from $8 to $20 per hour, depending on the firearm; long guns (rifles, pistol-grip shotguns, etc.) rent for $10 to $15 per hour. Lane use is free to Jackson Arms members, who pay $400 per year for full membership or $200 per year for range-only membership. Non-members rent lanes for $12 per hour.

The shop offers half-off discounts on weekly theme nights: Ladies Night, NRA Members Night, Law Enforcement Officers Night, and so on. Regular members who hang out at the shop are no different than those who socialize at a barbershop or cigar store.

"You get to know a lot of these customers," Remolona said. "You get attached to them."

The Johnstons settled into chairs at a small table in a small room down a narrow hallway. Their instructor, a big man with a soft, deep voice, declined to give his name to a reporter and photographer. Remolona said that is not unusual among gun enthusiasts, many of whom like to play their cards close to the vest.

"I've noticed through the years it's been like that," he said. "Sometimes they don't want the government knowing they own a gun."

The Johnstons' instructor began the class by playing a video showing safety rules: treat all firearms as if they are loaded; keep the finger off the trigger until ready to fire; keep firearms unloaded until ready to shoot. Said Remolona, "Even though we promote this as fun, we take safety seriously. We don't have people clowning around in here." Indeed, the shop has a list of 20 of its own rules that shooters must follow.

The video next explained the workings of the semiautomatic pistol, which mechanically ejects the shells of spent bullets, automatically reloads the chamber with another and cocks the gun's hammer. Remolona says semiautos are the handgun of choice for most shooting enthusiasts these days. The reloading speed and the 15-bullet magazines, he says, have made the six-shooter revolver more or less a thing of the past.

Jackson Arms sells guns produced by well-known companies such as Glock, Colt, Sig Sauer and Beretta, among others, that sell for between $500 and $1, 500. It also sells rifles, as well as an array of gun- and safety-related products: knives, holsters, scope covers and, of course, Jackson Arms T- shirts, hats and coffee mugs.

Back in the classroom, the Johnstons watched as the video explained the two most popular shooter stances: the Weaver stance has the feet spread with the left foot in front, while the Isosceles stance has the feet parallel. Shooters hold the gun with both hands. If right-handed, the shooter grips with that hand and wraps the left hand around and under it. The Johnstons' instructor noted that the hand holding the gun does about 40 percent of the work; the rest is done by the other hand, which controls the gun.

The instructor next schooled the Johnstons in loading, aiming and firing a handgun. He demonstrated a breathing technique designed to control aim and mitigate the gun's recoil, called the "kick."

Next came range time. At the front desk the Johnstons donned blue Peltor ear muffs and clear-plastic protective eyewear, and signed releases required by the shop's insurance company. "Blame the lawyers," quipped a counter staffer.

The utilitarian 50-foot range has 10 lanes with white brick walls, sound- muffling ceiling tiles and black carpeting. With the press of a button in each lane, an automated target holder brings paper targets to shooters for easy examination of their handiwork. Air circulated from outside made the range chilly on that Tuesday, a night the fog was coming in after a two-day heat wave.

The younger Johnston stepped to the front of his lane and promptly fired two bullets into the middle of an orange bull's-eye on his target. They landed within an inch of each other. The instructor nodded knowingly. As the elder Johnston stepped up, he said, "Sir, you have a tough job ahead of you -- to outdo your son."

For the next half hour or so, the Johnstons took turns firing away. The other lanes filled with enthusiasts, a couple of them taking advantage of the night's NRA discount. In one lane, three young men dressed in oversize shirts, baseball caps and fat sports shoes skillfully wielded an arsenal of personal weapons, including a pistol-grip shotgun. Wisely, none of the shooters in any of the lanes held their pistols sideways and parallel to the ground, as street thugs do in movies.

"We get a lot of gang-bangers who come in here and try to do that, and we have to get on the mike," Remolona said. He was referring to the P.A. system operated from the front desk and audible on the range, which is visible, through large windows, from the desk.

The Johnstons' shooting adventure came to an end with the younger Steve examining a target upon which no shot had landed outside the orange bull's-eye. He nonchalantly tossed it into a blue, waist-high recycling bin nearby. "It was fun," he said of the experience. "It was something to try. It didn't seem that hard."



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Where to go
The Jackson Arms Shooting Range and Gun Shop, 710 Dubuque Ave., in South San Francisco is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun. (650) 588-4209, or visit the Web site at www.jacksonarms.com.

E-mail Dave Ford at dford@sfchronicle.com.

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TCD
May 7, 2004, 06:04 PM
not bad....


"gang bangers"


not to sure on that comment, but overall, a nice article with good emphasis on safty and responsibility

TimRB
May 7, 2004, 06:42 PM
"gang bangers"


not to sure on that comment
---------------------------------------

Most people who use that term nowadays probably would not, if they knew that it at least used to mean something entirely different. Go figure.

Tim

stv
May 7, 2004, 06:48 PM
plz2bekeepingthisontopic

gunsmith
May 7, 2004, 07:12 PM
ban obvious gang members from shooting,iirc, it is illegal to use a firearm if you are in a gang (another one of those laws that CA has that seems to keep us all so safe).
Other then the baggy saggy pants set,I love the place.
I was teaching a black women I was friends with how to shoot and she said she got "good vibes" from the Jackson Arms folks,and at Lake Chabot she said she felt "no one liked her".
Also I've met lots of cops there and they all seem to be nice folks and some of the guys that work there (the older ones) know everything,the younger ones think they know every thing.:p

jnojr
May 7, 2004, 07:17 PM
Because they'd be sued for discrimination. You can bet your bottom dollar the city and county would back that suit, loudly crying that those extreme-right-wing gun nuts need to be shut down and run out of the area.

SoCalGeek
May 7, 2004, 07:43 PM
ban obvious gang members from shooting

Sounds great in theory, but how do you determine who is a gang member? The way they dress? The way they talk? I'm sad to say, damn near everybody under, say, 25 does something that might be considered a gang-member stereotype. You could just preemptively ban everyone who uses slang, has unusual hair, wears sagging pants but you would also be closing the door on a lot of good people who may never put in the effort to learn to shoot again.

Wildalaska
May 7, 2004, 09:12 PM
ou could just preemptively ban everyone who uses slang, has unusual hair, wears sagging pants

Me!

WildandtatoostooAlaska

atek3
May 7, 2004, 09:23 PM
Other than being expensive Jackson Arms is a good place run by nice people. Good article.

The previous owner sold the shop three years ago and left the Bay Area because he felt it politically unfriendly to gun ownership, Remolona said.
"Because he felt", hahah. I think "downright politically hostile" would be a better phrase.


atek3

4v50 Gary
May 7, 2004, 09:39 PM
It is amazing that a traditionally anti-gun newspaper would print this story. I'd like to see more stories like this in more newspapers.

BTW, if that gal didn't like Chabot, I can understand. I thought their #1 rangemaster was a pompus chap. This was over 10 years ago and I hope he's retired.

atek3
May 7, 2004, 09:49 PM
everyone in the bay area has their own "chabot range nazi" story. (am I allowed to say nazi? as in soup nazi)

atek3

QuarterBoreGunner
May 8, 2004, 01:08 AM
aaah jeez atek, you just Godwined the thread...

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