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Range incident - opinions wanted

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by parsimonious_instead, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. parsimonious_instead

    parsimonious_instead Well-Known Member

    Disclaimer: I don't have a dog in this "fight" but I did observe an interesting conflict between two people at the range.
    I'd like to know what you folks think.

    The players: "Joe" - an old-timer who's belonged to and shot at the range for a very, very long time. At times he can be a "busybody" going up to people and talking to them about their guns (range has a supposed "no magnum load" rule for noise reduction), trying to remind them about rules and laws, etc.
    "Jim" a much younger fellow who is a certified NRA instructor, who I believe was simply shooting there as a paid guest.
    Neither man is a friend or a shooting buddy of mine.

    Note that we have a rule here that I'm sure a lot of ranges have, as well - when people go out and change/setup/break down targets, everyone steps back from the firing line and no weapons are handled.

    "Jim" seemed like a perfectly fine fellow at first. When I greeted him during target setup, we talked about the guns we brought with us. Everything seemed OK with the guy, although he answered my questions with a slightly unusual degree of zeal.

    Once our targets were set, we took up our guns and shot them. During another break, I heard "Jim" say something like, "OKAY! I Got IT!" when "Joe" most likely reminded him about the "step away" rule.

    That seemed to be the end of it, and during another break I wandered over to the stall "Jim" was using. "Joe" approached, and asked the man about the woman he was shooting with. "Oh, that's my ** yr old daughter"
    "Oh, she's not under 21? Good for her, looking so much younger then her age." "Joe" replied. "Well, then, according to NY State law she shouldn't be shooting your guns." Joe added.
    That really seemed to ruffle "Jim's" feathers. Suddenly very agitated, "Jim" dug into his range bag, and with rapidly rising anger unfolded his NRA certification and said, "This piece of paper says that I can teach anyone of any age how to shoot pistols!" "I can let anyone shoot any gun I have!" He replied.
    "I'm just saying what the law says, "Joe" answered back.
    That made "Jim" really blow his stack.
    "This (expletive) piece of paper is my way of telling (expletive) like you that I can do whatever the (expletive) I want."
    "Joe" who was probably about to leave anyway, took his stuff of the bench and went home.
    "Jim" seemed to cool down about 50%, but I overheard a few minutes of complaining to his daughter about what "Joe" had said.

    Here's my opinion - they were both very wrong. "Joe" shouldn't be such a busybody - he has every right to point out a safety violation, but the finer points of NYS handgun law should be left to police and the courts.
    But "Jim" needs to chill out a bit, and see a talkative old man for who he is, and simply "yes" him until he goes away.
    "Joe" didn't say anything suggestive, didn't touch anyone or anything that he shouldn't have.
    I was brought up to respect one's elders, you DO NOT yell and curse at an old man unless they've put hands on you or your property, or started in with a verbal tirade.
  2. MartinS

    MartinS Well-Known Member

    Just one of a gazillion friction points in the world of man in action. Discuss for fun but hope it simmers down and can be remembered as random noise.
  3. TylerPearce

    TylerPearce Well-Known Member

    If I were "Jim", i would have just calmly showed him the NRA certification. And if I were "Joe", I wouldn't have gotten into somebody's personal business. As long as nobody is being destructive with the firearm, why does their age matter? If anything, the older man should be encouraging young shooters.

    Just my opinion though.
  4. Nushif

    Nushif Well-Known Member

    Interesting point there, I was raised to not judge merit to someone based on their age, looks, or what have you. I guess we're different on that one. 8)

    But the fight really seems like both folks were kinda errr ... poking at each other? I mean, just cause the guy has a fancy NRA card doesn't mean he can proverbially do whatever he wants, but frankly if someone started poking and prodding about my business like that at a range one of my first replies would be "Hey, can you tell me where this is going?" Especially at a range where we have someone obviously with an agenda already.

    Why do people get so wound up at ranges anyhow? Can someone answer that? Because it doesn't seem to happen a lot here.
  5. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    I encountered a few folks with NRA credentials who seem to think the wallet sized cards somehow bestow special knowledge and power to the holder.

    I've encountered a few folks who who want to educate shooters on every subject from safety to which firearm is best for them.

    I typically turn my back on both types. That usually works.
  6. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Well-Known Member

    Another case of knowing the "law" but not knowing the "law". Had something similar happen to me,in Ma high cap magaines made before 94 are illegal. In order to possess high caps for pistol or rifles you need a LTC A( which says "class A large capacity,license to carry" BTW). Was at the range one day and an observer saw my Berreta and my 6 high caps and was shocked that I had them. They went on to tell me that it was illegal for me to have them or carry them in my pistol. I informed him that they were made before 1994 and my permit allows me to have them. He was somewhat insistent on his point and I just ignored him till he went away. From the story above "Jim" sounds like he needs a bit thicker skin and "Joe needs to get up to date on laws and regs and learn some etiquite. Though you're not going to win with the range "know it all". My question is where was the range officer in this little tiff?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  7. yeti

    yeti Well-Known Member

    Jim needs to relearn the art of taping his ear muffs and feigning inability to hear, then just walk away after giving a friendly parting smile.
  8. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Well-Known Member

    Some ranges operate on an informal basis and don't have a full time RSO present. The shooting range back in my home state was this way and range members were the acting RSO's. Somewhat like the honor system.

    During the NRA RSO class that I took they stressed being patient and polite with people because situations such as the OP's can quickly get out of hand or escalate into something much more serious.
  9. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Well-Known Member

    Both are in the wrong.
    Personally I don't say anything to other shooters about what they are doing unless it is a safety issue AND there is not a range official to handle it. If a range official is present, I may point out a safety issue to the range official, if he/she doesn't notice it.
    If someone were to try to explain some alleged law to me, I would ask them if they were a police officer charged with enforcing that law. If they said no, then I would ask them if they were a lawyer. If they said no, I would tell them they have no business giving legal advice, and that also constitutes a crime.
    If they said yes to either question, I would pack up and leave.
  10. Fremmer

    Fremmer Well-Known Member

    I think Joe needs to mind his own business.

    Edited to add: and I don't care how old Joe is.
  11. wankerjake

    wankerjake Well-Known Member

    So in NY you can't shoot someone else's guns if you are over 21?
  12. parsimonious_instead

    parsimonious_instead Well-Known Member

    Wanker: The law is really bizarre... as anti-gun as NY State is, and as ludicrously cumbersome as the permitting process is, apparently it allows those without a pistol license to shoot handguns as long as they're between 14 and 20 years of age.
  13. russ69

    russ69 Well-Known Member

    I don't run into this very often but there is no way to determine specific legally in most cases because you don't have enough information. There are so many allowable exceptions that 99% of the time you'll be wrong. I keep my opinions to myself at the range except when complimenting a person's shooting, equipment or a serious safety violation.
    I would have informed Joe that if he thinks I'm breaking the law, then he needs to contact the police. I don't think we need club members to be the unpaid gun control agents for the police. If a club rule is being broken, then that should be handled the usual way, expulsion or warning, as appropriate.

    Thanx, Russ

    P.S. If a fellow whips out a full auto AR pistol and bursts a few rounds down range, I'm just going to smile and say, nice pistol. I'm not going to ask for his tax stamp and drivers licence, not my job.
  14. Chemist

    Chemist Well-Known Member

    Of all the people I know the only ones that feel the need to talk about what is/isn't legal are the ones WITHOUT legal degrees. (Lawyers always want you to pay for their advice;)

    Sounds like two guys <just arguing> to me. If I watched such an encounter I would leave.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2010
  15. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "I was raised to not judge merit to someone based on their age"

    It's not about merit, it's about manners. I guess we were raised differently.

  16. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Man, really makes me appreciate my club and it's range even more! 560 acres of private ranch land with over a dozen separate bermed ranges, you can nearly always have one to yourself except for the 600 yard high-power range, and it's usually empty too. Waaaay out in the eastern plains country of Colorado where even critters are sparse, only the serious shooters will join and make the drive! Never seen any fools or hangarounds. An outstanding place to shoot, especially early in the day.
  17. ThePunisher'sArmory

    ThePunisher'sArmory Well-Known Member

    Thats why im glad I don't live in NY. There are way too many "Jims" and "Joes" attitudes up there. However I do have to go with my wife to upstate NY next weekend. :(
  18. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

    Sounds like a ridiculous old man throwing an even more ridiculous law in somebodies face. If I were the OP, I'd tell "Joe" to get the hell away from me any time he came near.
  19. NJGunOwner81

    NJGunOwner81 Well-Known Member


    I gotta tell you that I too would be annoyed with the old man. I understand that some people are busy bodies and chatty but when I go to the range I go there to shoot!

    I mean no offense to anyone here but that is why I chose to join a range and not a gun club. I don't want to hang out with the "Good 'Ol Boys" and B.S., or go to meetings, or have to have my membership voted on by board members ... I just want to shoot!

    I go to the range to shoot, have a good time, and blow off accumulated steam from the day and unless I'm doing something unsafe or REALLY wrong just leave me be!

    I'm sorry if that sounds anti-social but that's just me ... honestly, I wish I lived out in the middle of nowhere so I could just step off my back porch and fire at some tin cans on a post.

    "Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong!

    Take Care and Be Safe!!!

  20. parsimonious_instead

    parsimonious_instead Well-Known Member


    >I gotta tell you that I too would be annoyed with the old man. I understand >that some people are busy bodies and chatty but when I go to the range I go >there to shoot!

    I was annoyed with him, too. Earlier in the day, before "Jim" showed up, "Joe" inquired about my Rossi lever-action ("what cartridge does it shoot?) because he was trying to play "enforcer" with the noise rules. (Range is surprisingly close to hyper-affluent liberal suburb of NYC, therefore a rule against shooting most centerfire rifles)
    However, I fended him off by assertively stating that it was a pistol cartridge and perfectly acceptable for that venue. I didn't go "ape crazy" on the guy like the other fellow did, and in fact he let me shoot his guns and gave me some info about cheap .38 spl ammo he buys online.

    >I mean no offense to anyone here but that is why I chose to join a range and >not a gun club

    For better or worse, this range is a mix of both, which I personally kind of like.
    Shooters on the line are pretty serious, although people do admire, discuss, and even shoot each other's hardware.
    There's a small range office that's physically detached from the covered shooting lanes, and that's where the bulk of the hanging out and schmoozing takes place.
    We generally act as our own RSOs, and as far as I know, things have been pretty safe there for the last few decades. (I've been a member for about 1.5 yrs or so).
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010

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