Recipe for disaster? Oklahoma City gun range with liquor license opens this week
By RYAN GORMAN
An Oklahoma gun range opening this week has stirred up a lot of controversy after it was granted a liquor license.
Wilshire Gun, in Oklahoma City, will officially throw the doors open on Friday. Patrons will be able to fire off a few rounds and toss back a few drinks, but co-owner Jeff Swanson insists his establishment is the safest in the state, if not the nation.
The 40,000 square foot facility boasts shooting lanes ranging in size from longer than a football field to only 25-yards, a revolutionary gun shop Swanson compared to the Apple store, archery, a cigar lounge and gun safety classes - but a café is receiving all the attention.
"Most shooters, the gun owning individual, that is a responsible group... here they are encouraged to come in, enjoy retail facilities, go up to the club, go to any of the lanes and get a bite to eat," said Swanson.
Swanson was quick to point out that many reports saying the shooting range will have a bar are inaccurate.
"There's no place to belly up and order shots, it's just a point of sale," he explained. The cafe sells beer, liquor and wine in addition to a full menu of food.
That hasn't stopped some from criticizing Wilshire Gun for selling alcohol in a building that promotes the use of firearms. But Swanson believes he and his partners have covered all their bases.
Patrons who want a drink are required to legally secure their guns in their vehicles.
Guns are prohibited from the café despite being allowed by law in every other bar or restaurant in the state, Swanson noted.
Patrons are then required to provide identification to the café staff. That ID is then scanned and flagged from being allowed to shoot for the rest of the day whether the patron has one drink or five.
"If you're red flagged, you can't get in," said Swanson.
In order to access the gun range, as a shooter or spectator, people must hand over that same ID for scanning. If that person was flagged as having consumed alcohol that day, the person is barred from entry.
"Everyone is on the same system, if you order a drink you are not allowed into the shooting facilities either as a shooter or a spectator for the rest of the day," he added.
The controversial café accounts for only about four percent of the entire facility, he added.
Most of the staff, even retail sales people, are current or former law enforcement or military, said Swanson. They are trained to conduct field sobriety, impairment and stress tests and can bar anyone from entering at any time.
An additional 100 security cameras covering the facility and parking lot are monitored at all times, and additional security staff even patrols the parking lot, said Swanson.
Not everyone is convinced this is a good idea.
"I don't drink when I go shooting," a local told KOCO. "I don't think you should mix the two. It's a recipe for disaster."
Another unusual element of of Wilshire Gun is the gun shop.
"Our retail floor is set up like an Apple Store, the guns are on tables... you can pick them up like you would an iPad," said Swanson.
The firing pins are all removed and the firearms are tethered to the tables, he added.
Gun ranges in California, Georgia, South Dakota and Texas also serve alcohol, according to Eater.
A LivingSocial deal earlier this year combined a gun range and tequila, but all shots were downed far from any guns.
Texas legislators did consider allowing the sale of alcohol at gun shows, but opposition to the idea forced them to reconsider, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Wilshire Gun has an avid Facebook following, and the negative comments appear to be in the minority.
AOL News research was unable to uncover any instances of alcohol-fueled shootings at firing ranges that serve alcohol, but is this a good idea?
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