Plan Commission recommends allowing indoor gun rangeThe Hudson Plan Commission on Thursday night, June 14, recommended amending the city’s zoning code to allow an indoor gun range to be built in the vacant Hudson Cinema 9 theater on O’Keefe Road at Crest View Drive.
The Hudson Plan Commission on Thursday night, June 14, recommended amending the city’s zoning code to allow an indoor gun range to be built in the vacant Hudson Cinema 9 theater on O’Keefe Road at Crest View Drive.
The recommendation that passed 3-1 is to allow indoor gun ranges in general business (B-2), light industrial (I-1) and general industrial (I-2) districts upon approval of a certificate of compliance for a proposed range.
The City Council will now hold a public hearing on the proposed zoning amendment, and then decide whether or not to adopt it.
Commissioners Frank Rhoades, Paul Radermacher and Kevin Vance voted to recommend the amendment. It was opposed by Mary Claire Potter.
Alderperson Mary Yacoub chaired Thursday night’s meeting in the absence of Mayor Alan Burchill. Commissioner Fred Yoerg also was absent.
John Monson, the owner of Bill’s Gun Shop & Range, assured the commission that no bullet would escape the gun range he plans to construct inside the former movie theater.
Monson said the 26-lane range would essentially be a cement box inside the building, or a building within a building.
“There simply is no way for a bullet to get out,” he said.
A person standing immediately outside the gun range would hear a muffled shooting noise, he said, but no sound from within the building would be heard 50 yards away from it.
Monson spoke at length to the commission, describing the range he plans to build and fielding commissioners’ questions.
The commissioners appeared impressed with Monson’s plans and knowledge about indoor ranges.
He operates Bill’s Gun Shop & Range at two locations in Minnesota, Circle Pines and Robbinsdale.
Commissioner Vance and Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen said they had visited the Circle Pines gun range.
Vance said he was impressed with the professionalism of the staff at the Circle Pines range and the number of classes offered.
“I’m kind of excited to see this come in,” said Jensen. “When I was done with my two-and-a-half hour tour, I was very impressed with what I saw.”
Jensen said the gun range would allow Hudson police officers to do their firearms training and practice nearby, instead of traveling to a range in the Twin Cities or Eau Claire.
Monson said law enforcement officers from one agency or another are at his Circle Pines and Robbinsdale ranges for training daily. He expects that the Hudson facility also will be widely used by area law enforcement agencies.
Three of the 26 firing lanes will be reserved for law enforcement officers, Monson reported. Those lanes will be 50 feet in length. The lanes for the general public will be 75 feet long.
Questions were raised about the kinds of firearms allowed in the range and sold in the gun shop.
Monson said the range would be built to handle everything from a pellet gun to a .50 caliber rifle. He said thousands of deer-hunting rifles are sighted in at his Minnesota ranges each year. Many people also use the ranges to practice using handguns, he indicated.
“We said every walk of life and every age,” he said the patrons.
He said armor-piercing bullets aren’t allowed, even though the backstop of the Hudson range could contain them. Tracer rounds would be prohibited, too.
Every patron is required to view a video on rules and safety before each use of the range, he said.
Commissioner Rhoades inquired about the type of firearms Monson would sell at his Hudson business.
Monson said he offers hunting rifles, handguns and assault-style rifles in a semi-automatic mode. He said he would have the ability to sell machine guns, but that he wouldn’t.
Commissioner Potter asked about injuries at his Minnesota ranges.
Monson said there had been three major accidents in his 10 years of operating the ranges. In one case, a law enforcement officer shot himself in the leg putting his handgun back in a holster. Another man tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide, and an elderly man suffered non-life-threatening injury in a mishap.