First indoor shooting range in Franklin County opens to high dem - KMOV.com

First indoor shooting range in Franklin County opens to high demand

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Person shooting gun at range (Credit: KMOV) Person shooting gun at range (Credit: KMOV)

ST. CLAIR, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A new indoor gun range in St. Clair, Missouri is the talk of the town.

The “Gun Shack” opened August 1 and is the first of its kind in Franklin County. The owner, Larry Varner, had a gun shop on the other side of town since 2005. About a year ago, he started construction to transform an old bowling alley into the area’s only indoor shooting range.

Now, people are flooding in from neighboring communities like Washington, and even Bourbon, to check it out. He said business is always busy this time of year because of hunting season but he expects it to pick up even more.

Varner said the boom in business is a sign of the times. When sales first jumped back in 2012, after the Sandy Hook school shooting, he heard from many customers who worried the government would ban some weapons.

“I think it’s like when a kid is growing up. When someone tells you can’t have something, it makes you want it even more.” said Varner.

That same fear is bubbling up again with the upcoming election. Varner predicts if Hillary Clinton wins, sales will really spike because customers remember what happened when her husband, Bill Clinton, was in office, which is when the 1994 federal assault weapons ban passed. The ban expired in 2004.

Varner said he still gets customers looking for assault rifles but his most popular seller is concealable handguns.

While some customers come in to shop, others just stop by to practice shooting, something gun enthusiasts take seriously. While they support conceal and carry, both customers and the owner told News 4 they were troubled by part of a change in Missouri Law. Starting January 1, 2017, people will be allowed to conceal and carry without training first.

“I feel everybody still needs to be trained,” said Varner. “And I still think there is classes that need to be taught to people and as I’m seeing, there’s a lot of people that need educating, some more than others.”

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