Wake county's gun range abruptly closes to the public starting tomorrow
Posted January 13, 2020 5:40 p.m. EST
Apex, N.C. — The only publicly owned gun range in Wake County is closing to the public tomorrow after the sheriff abruptly cancelled the contract with the operator.
The range opened 20 years ago to provide a safe and controlled place for law enforcement and the public to shoot. Now, the future of the range is uncertain.
Firearms Education and Training Center, at 3921 Old Holly Springs Apex Road, is where the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and 38 other law enforcement agencies train.
When law enforcement officers are not there, it’s open to the public most nights and weekends.
“We were caught – as much as the county commissioners were – off guard when it was cancelled,” said Fred Stough, Range Safety Management manager.
The sheriff cancelled the contract with RSM – the company that operates the public side of the range. The range has been operating in the red since 2017.
RSM says higher operating expenses are to blame -including a requirement by the county to hire additional safety officers.
“That added $62,000 to potential expenses in a year just to pay the people who would have to fill those times,” said Stough.
In a meeting Monday, the Wake County Board of Commissioners agreed they want the range to be open to the public, and they plan to partner with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission to operate the range long-term.
“Our shooting ranges are free to the public to use, so that would be our goal in this partnership,” said Kyle Briggs, NC Wildlife Resources Commission Chief Deputy Director.
“Our board gave us the initiative to try and find a shooting range within about a 50-minute drive for every citizen in the state, and in Wake County/Johnston County, there is a hole there right now. This is an opportunity to fill that hole where we haven’t seen an opportunity before,” said Briggs.
They hope to have the range back open to the public within the next 30 to 60 days.