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Weekend idiocy at public range in Arkansas

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by hillbilly, Jul 5, 2005.

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  1. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    On July 3, I attempted to take two very good friends to the range with my wife.....It was at the public range in the Hobbs Management Area east of Rogers, Arkansas, along Beaver Lake.

    I had already taken the nephews of my good friends to the same range the day before as we waited for the friends to arrive from their long drive from Michigan. That day, July 2, was very good.....all the shooters at the range were safe and friendly. The nephews fired their first handguns and had a good time.

    Well, when we returned to the range the next day, July 3, we found a much less enjoyable situation.

    One one end of the firing line were two guys hammering away with a fully-auto AR-15 variant.

    Now, I like fully-auto, but understand this range has only five firing positions spread over about 40 feet and under a very stout pavilion roof. Under that heavy cover, and in that close proximity, the percussive force of the fully-auto rips was very unpleasant even with adequate hearing protection.

    But that's not why we didn't shoot there that day.

    The reason we didn't shoot that day was because there was a group of five or six Hispanics on the other end of the firing line, taking turns shooting pistols casually with one-handed grips and about half-way through a case of Miller Lite with their off-hands.

    I mean two of them were standing at the firing line shooting at the 25-yard-line targets one-handed, cradling open beer cans in their other hands.

    There were at least 8 or 9 opened beer cans on the range table with the assorted handguns and boxes of ammo and there was a cooler near by.

    Because we had heard the loud fully-auto bursts from the parking lot, I offered to go up and check out the line before my friends and my wife came up with our guns and ammo.

    First I looked at the fully-auto guys, and felt jealous. In fact, I was so absorbed by the machine gun, that it took me about 30 seconds for my mind to comprehend the situation at the firing point to my immediate left, and that I had actually had to walk right past to see the guys shooting the full-auto AR.

    And no, this is a public range with a big red sign that says "PUBLIC RANGE. NO SAFETY OFFICER ON DUTY. SHOOT AT YOUR OWN RISK."

    I walked back to the vehicle, said there was a group of folks drinking beer and shooting pistols at the range, and we all got back in the car and left immediately.

    hillbilly
     
  2. walt007

    walt007 Member

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    Wow! You gotta love Arkansas!

    I took a few buddies to a local shooting range located in Plano, Texas. First of all, this range does not allow auto-fire or for that matter more than two shots fired rapidly due to most people losing accuracy after the first-second recoil.

    One of my buddies was drinking a coke in a big plastic cup during his breaks. As soon as one of the employees walked into the range, they promptly confiscated his drink. At first this angered me, but then he explained his reasoning: drinking anything while shooting guns in an enclosed facility causes a person to swallow lead with his/her drink and hence obtain lead poisoning - which is deadly. With lead poisoning, your memory goes first so you never know what is happening until death occurs.

    Does this range charge any fees? Is there not someone who monitors the activity at all? Just want to make sure I understand the type of establishment you are referring to.
     
  3. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    This is a public range put up by the Game and Fish Commission.

    There are several of these ranges in Arkansas.

    It is actually a very nice facility. It is not indoors. It is outdoors, with 100 yards and a dirt berm and big bullet trap at the bottom of the berm.

    These ranges are free and open to the public. No range safety officers. Shoot at your own risk.

    hillbilly
     
  4. dolanp

    dolanp Member

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    Still ought to be illegal for people to be publicly discharging firearms while drinking alcohol.
     
  5. walt007

    walt007 Member

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    This range sounds like it could have a lot of potential... with the right crowd. Unfortunantly, places as such that do not provide a fee for use and do not have a qualified range officer on duty seem to be a recipe for disaster.

    You have paid good money, I'm sure, for your guns, pay $10-15 a visit to shoot them in safety. Your life, and your friends lives, are worth the lousy range fee.

    I'm just glad to hear that you did not decide to stick around and wait till the Hispanics got a hold of the auto or the guy firing the auto got a hold of the Hispanics' beer.

    Wise choice IMHO!
     
  6. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

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    hillbilly,

    I shot at a public range in Arkansas in June, near Danville. We had the place to ourselves the first day. Second day more people showed up, but still wasn't crowded. We approached the first group to try and agree on range rules, but they just kind of shrugged it off. The three folks (one male, two females) shooting with us the second day would shout with laughter 'MOVING TARGETS!' whenever we went downrange during a cease fire. The male finally tired of shooting and went to have a beer, fell asleep in their minivan (thank goodness for small favors).

    At most of the state parks I've been to there, somebody always shows up drinking or drunk. If they don't show up, then you find their campfire littered with beer cans.

    With so much private land that you can shoot on there, I would guess there's little incentive to fund range officers. I would have welcomed them on that day. State may not be able to justify the money spent; not enough people shot at public ranges. More drunk driving accidents leaving the range than AD/ND. :uhoh:

    Arkansas seems to be getting worse every time I visit or hear about it.

    jmm
     
  7. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    You made a good choice not going up there to shoot. At the minimum it sounds like it would of been crowded. At worst, well as we all know, alcohol and shooting is a mixture for disaster. Hell, Alcohol and most things are a mixture for disaster. You know, like being bagged by your future wife while checking out a super hottie wearing practically nothing after you've had a couple of wobbly pops. I'm not admitting to it mind you, but lets just say my ride home last Saturday night was not a pleasant one. :(
     
  8. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Aren't there posted rules that include "No Alcohol"? Public range.........who owns it? Whose liability is it?
     
  9. wmenorr67

    wmenorr67 Member

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    I would have contacted the sheriff and/or Highway Patrol and notified them of the drinking at the range.
     
  10. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    I'm a native Arkansan.

    In Arkansas, there aren't a lot of pay-per-shoot ranges because lots and lots of folks still have access to private land to shoot on.

    For example, I have a 40 yard handgun range in my backyard, with the beginnings of a 200 yard rifle range on my own 30 acres.

    I belong to a local private gun club only because they have a 300 yard rifle range that I like to use.

    There are several free and public ranges set up around Arkansas by the Game and Fish Commission. For example, down near my hometown of Waldron, there is such a range dedicated to the memory of a Waldron resident who died while fighting a forest fire.

    These ranges can be pretty nice with covered shooting lines, handicapped access, state-park type outdoor toilet facilities, safety berms, target frames, etc. etc.

    On the one hand, free and public ranges with no range officers or staff there can be potentially dangerous.

    But on the other hand, they are also very free and open places very conducive to devloping and practicing personal responsibility and decision making.....you know, that ugly "f-word".............. freedom?

    I have also seen plenty of stupid, unsafe, and downright dangerous things at pay-per-shoot ranges with attendees and range officers and climate control, etc. etc.

    I have also been hassled by over-zealous range nazis who were working at very nice pay-per-shoot ranges. I've been yelled at because I wasn't waiting the full two required seconds between each of my pistol shots. I'd rather not spend the $15 to get yelled at for no good reason.

    At such a public shooting range, I have the choice of shooting there, or just leaving. Or I can actually talk to people and try to work out proper range etiquette and procedure.

    That day, with folks drinking beer while shooting handguns, I made the choice to leave.


    As has been suggested, calling the local cops might have been a good choice. I actually thought about it for maybe 5 seconds, but figured it would not have done any good.

    I doubt seriously anyone would have actually responded to the call. They wouldn't have bothered until somebody actually got shot first.

    hillbilly
     
  11. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    It's my understanding that, at least among Mexican silhouette shooters, drinking a beer while shooting is practically required. So it could very well be a cultural thing.

    This from a guy I know who used to shoot Silhouette competitively.


    That said™ it doesn't change the fact that shooting and drinking absolutely never go together, and that it's terribly unsafe habit, doubly so since they were drinking *shudder* Miller Lite. You made the right choice in leaving the range.
     
  12. Vernal45

    Vernal45 member

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    You made the right choice, the only choice you could have made. Alcohol and guns, bad juju. Where alcohol and guns are together, Darwin is somewhere lurking, waiting to strike.
     
  13. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    Justin....I'd say it's not just a Mexican cultural thing.

    I know of a family group of lilly-white rednecks who do a very fine, interesting precision shooting game at long range with progressively smaller clay targets on a board.

    Only they drink beer by the case as they shoot the targets with precision bolt-action, scope rifles from several hundred yards away.

    I went once by invitation, really liked the game, but have never been back because of the heavy beer drinking.

    I also know of, through a friend of mine, another group of lilly-white rednecks who drink beer heavily while shooting doves during the annual dove season.

    One of them was even shot in the face with several shotgun pellets one year, but from what I hear, they still continue to drink the beer before, during, and after the dove shooting.

    hillbilly
     
  14. Ole-sailor

    Ole-sailor Member

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    Hillbilly:

    You are one of the smarter gun owners! BUT, we all have read your thread with the same thought: Here comes another GUN LAW to protect us from the crazies!!

    It is really sad how the jerks in this country work overtime to have our freedom destroyed!

    Ole-Sailor
     
  15. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Member

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    Yep, more gun laws will eventually follow this type of behavior. That's why it is important for all of us to do our part in stopping it before the legislature decides to help us.

    Re: "A cultural thing", This is America, we are a civil society. We also have cultural things and since you are in our house, you should do as we wish.

    Hillbilly, you did half of the right thing. You took immediate action to protect your family. You also should have called the cops. I don't know if Ar. has any law about shooting while drinking but, I am sure there is a disorderly conduct law and a public intoxication law. Unfortunatly the bad guys won this round because they were allowed to commit criminal behavior on public land, while the good folks (you and yours) were deprived of the use of the public range.

    Next time call the police. What they do with the call is up to them. Your civic responsibility is to make them aware of criminal activity. Most agencies catalog calls. They are then studied in prevention efforts. If a particular problem area is identified, it gets attention. In this case it won't because no one reported the problem.
     
  16. mfree

    mfree Member

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    Sounds like they need the beer to get over the fear of shooting with each other... *shudder*.
     
  17. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Member

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    When I finally escape from the PRC I'm thinking that maybe Arkansas will not be on my short list of states to move to!!
     
  18. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I shoot single-handed 99.9% of the time—but I don't ever drink and shoot.
     
  19. torpid

    torpid Member

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    hillbilly-

    Good call on leaving when you did, but your posts make you seem a bit prejudiced...

    ...against one-handed grip shooters.


    .
     
  20. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I would never recommend drinking and shooting (especially drinking on the firing line), but I have a very mild essential tremor and frankly a single beer before shooting (and maybe a second after a couple hours of shooting) would probably improve my groups significantly.


    I used to shoot darts down at the pub and I found that I shot a LOT better after one or two beers (but no more ... any more and my performance started to lag ... too much more and I started making stupid bets :p ).
     
  21. MountainPeak

    MountainPeak Member

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    Justin, since you are a moderator here, I'm surprised you can get away with such obvious prejudicial behaviour. Everyone know there isn't amything wrong with Miller Lite. Bet you drink some sissy foreign beer!! ;) :neener:
     
  22. Sir Aardvark

    Sir Aardvark Member

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    Looks like they need to start charging $$ to use the range - that way it will keep the Riff-Raff out.
     
  23. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    Hey hillbilly

    Didn't you just have a post talking about how much you hated Illinois and couldn't wait to get back to Arkansas? Looks like some of those folks from Joliet followed you home... :D
     
  24. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    The funniest/scariest time I've ever had at a range also (surely just by coincidence) involved a group of Hispanics:

    While using a now-defunct range here in Illinoize, where carrying a gun is sehr verboten, my dad and I were surprised to see some Hispanic guys walk in with a few boxes of ammo and no guns-no range bags-nothing-just a couple boxes of ammo.

    Then they all rip pistolas out of their waistbands and start waving them around prior to popping off some rounds, sans targets, mind you, in the GENERAL direction of downrange. I saw my somewhat portly dad actually approach a decent sprint that day...


    Larry
     
  25. Derby FALs

    Derby FALs Member In Memoriam

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    As long as both ends of the range had fun and no one got hurt, I'd say it was a good day. :neener:
     
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