A Virginia lawmaker wants to shut down the NRA’s main gun range by outlawing indoor ranges with more than 50 employees unless they’re owned by the government or intended for law enforcement use.
State Rep. Dan Helmer, a Democrat whose district encompasses DC suburbs, introduced the oddly-worded House Bill 567 that would outlaw “indoor shooting ranges” that are “not owned or leased by the Commonwealth or federal government” unless they meet certain exceptions:
Indoor shooting ranges; prohibited in buildings not owned or leased by the Commonwealth or federal government; exceptions; civil penalty. Prohibits the operation of an indoor shooting range, defined in the bill, in any building not owned or leased by the Commonwealth or federal government unless
(i) fewer than 50 employees work in the building
(a) at least 90 percent of the users of the indoor shooting range are law-enforcement officers or federal law-enforcement officers,
(b) the indoor shooting range maintains a log of each user’s name, phone number, address, and the law-enforcement agency where such user is employed, and
(c) the indoor shooting range verifies each user’s identity and address by requiring all users to present a government-issued photo-identification card. The bill provides that any person that violates the provisions of this section is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $100,000 for the initial violation and $5,000 per day for each day of violation thereafter.
The exceptions, however, don’t really make sense unless one takes into consideration the NRA’s premiere gun range in Fairfax, Virginia, which would NOT be exempted by the bill given that the range is located at the NRA’s headquarters which has ostensibly more than 50 employees.
“The NRA Range is conveniently located at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia,” according to the range’s location page. “Once you arrive at NRA, follow the signs to the left past the NRA Cafe and continue into the parking garage at the rear of the building.”
Typically, an average gun range in its own building doesn’t have more than 50 employees, and the bill focuses only on indoor gun ranges, so what’s the point of the bill’s unusual exemptions unless the NRA gun range is the main target?
Helmer, who in 2019 defeated Republican incumbent Tim Hugo, had made gun control one of his top legislative priorities, so it’s likely he’s trying to make a major legislative splash with a bill that would have immediate repercussions.
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