Luxurious Frisco gun club seeks to attract the affluent

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 11:31 PM

FRISCO -- As the nation looks to crack down on guns, many Texans are embracing their rights.

North Texas soon will be home to a one-of-a-kind gun range. The Frisco Gun Club is being built on El Dorado Parkway near the Dallas North Tollway. It’s designed for the affluent.

Darren Beck lives in Frisco. When he wants to take some target practice with his rifle, he drives to the closest range, about 16 miles away, in East Plano. Beck is one of the first people to sign up for the club.

"There's no reason a shooting range has to be dark and dingy," Beck said. "Why can't it be nice and airy?"

In artist renderings, the outside of the facility looks more like a country club than a shooting range. Indoors, it will have a 40 lane gun range, a retail store, on-site gunsmiths, a cafe, and training room for concealed handgun classes.

"We just think if you want to appeal to an affluent audience or affluent demographic, like Frisco, people would like to come into a place that's just nice," said Christian Putnam, the club’s Chief Executive Officer.

VIP club members, who pay a premium price, will have a private dining area with an outdoor patio, fireplace, and even more amenities.

"It's more like going to Neiman Marcus than going to a no-frills gun store," Putnam said.

The Frisco Gun Club isn't the first business to pull the trigger into luxury shooting ranges with the latest technology, including state-of-the-art ventilation. It follows the Athena Gun Club in Houston, the Scottsdale Gun Club in Arizona, and the Colonial Shooting Academy in Richmond, Virginia.

So far, there's been no public opposition to the $9 million club. One of the largest anti-gun organizations in the country, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said they're okay with the concept.

"If people want to enjoy shooting in a nice, safe place, God bless them," said Coalition spokesman Tad Everett. "But, if they're stockpiling assault weapons in their home, that's another issue."

But with recent deadly mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut, the gun control debate is once again in the public psyche. However shooting enthusiasts, like Darren Beck, doubt it will impact the Frisco project.

"To me, the gun range can only make it better," Beck said. "Any time you can get gun owners out there practicing and learning and experiencing what happens with their guns, that's only going to lead to more safety."

Gun enthusiast Ron Weber agrees.

"Words on a page are not going to stop a predator or somebody with a mental defect," Weber said. "All it does is prevent law-abiding citizens the opportunity to defend themselves."

Gun club executives say they would rather leave the gun control debate to the National Rifle Association. They say this project is all about luxury and entertainment.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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