Last week, La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard urged county commissioners to move toward constructing a shooting range for law-enforcement officers. Schirard claimed that scheduling his department’s training needs around civilian use at the Durango Gun Club range at the north end of La Posta Road is challenging, and sometimes means that law-enforcement officers and civilian gun owners were frustrated by timing conflicts. Club members, for example, might arrive at the range, only to find it in use by law enforcement.
Law enforcement has not had its own range since 2007.
Schirard is no newcomer to the position of sheriff and knows his department’s weapons training needs – and, most likely, the needs of the other law-enforcement agencies in the area. It is not difficult to imagine the liability that can come from too little shooting training in that line of work. In addition, Schirard also has been very supportive of responsible, civilian gun ownership and carry and knows local civilian gun users and their needs.
We hope that the commissioners respond favorably to Schirard’s request.
Best to involve, of course, an experienced third party in determining just what a shooting range, for today and tomorrow, should look like and then its location. Given land-use challenges, access and costs, the solution might not be a new, second range. The answer might be a larger range that can be segregated between law enforcement and civilian use when need be or used in its entirety by one or the other.
A combined range – a new, larger range – with additional features could be safer and more appealing to civilian users. In exchange, civilian users would cover some of the operating costs.
But, we get ahead of ourselves.
We suspect that there are numerous examples of recently constructed well-designed ranges across the country with features that could be selected for La Plata County. And, there should be operating models that make it possible to mesh law enforcement and civilian uses in a single facility if that proves to be the best option.
Let’s identify a competent consultant and determine the needs and wants of law enforcement and gun users, and how to meet them.