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Powder Springs Gun Range OK'd to Serve Alcohol

Not everyone agreed to the City Council's approval Monday, with one resident saying: "Alcohol and guns do not mix."

One of the two alcohol licenses approved by the Powder Springs City Council Monday came with little discussion and no debate.

It was for wine and beers sales for the recently opened Loma Pizzeria on Sailors Parkway. The license passed 4-1, with Councilwoman Nancy Hudson dissenting, as she typically does on alcohol issues.

But the other license, awarded to the $3.5 million Governor’s Gun Club being built at the corner of C.H. James Parkway and Sterlingbrooke Drive, was full of points and rebuttals.

The small selection of alcohol would be served during the hours allowed by Powder Springs law and in a lounge secured with a special key given just to members. The only people under 21 who could enter are the children of members, and they wouldn’t be allowed to drink.

“It’s not really anything new. It’s what things are changing to,” Owner Kristina Brown said, noting alcohol is served in ranges in Arizona and Kentucky. Drinks wouldn’t be a “profit center,” she explained, but rather a perk.

Guns would not be permitted in the lounge, and once inside, customers couldn’t return to the shooting range. A gun valet system with lockers will be available, but customers could still exit the building with their weapons.

“So what happens in the parking lot?” Hudson asked at the work session before the meeting. She said she had received calls from two “very upset” constituents. “I come from a family of hunters. We have guns … but alcohol and guns do not mix.”

Ann Harmon, whose Elliot Road home backs up to the site, was one of two residents to step up to the microphone in opposition. She said she has no objections to the gun club, and that her husband and son frequent one.

“But I do want to make one complete statement: that alcohol and guns do not mix,” she said.

Mayor Pat Vaughn said the council has “shared your concerns, but I think they have some pretty good safety measures in place.”

Background checks and questionnaires will be given, and members must sign a contract ensuring they follow all the safety rules, said Brown’s husband, Bert, with Acworth-based EGAD Architectural and Engineering, which specializes in gun ranges.

“That goes above the laws of Georgia,” Bert Brown said. “In Georgia, a person can carry a firearm into a bar.”

“We have a $3.5 million investment here,” he said earlier in the work session, explaining how he doesn’t drink. “Unfortunately, (drinking) is a part of our society, and this is hard even coming from my mouth, but there’s a certain amount of concern that we would not be successful with this type of product if we did not have that ability” to serve alcohol.

With the expense of buying a membership, Councilman Chris Wizner called the range a “high-end social club.”

He compared getting into a car with a gun after drinks at the gun range to anyone being able to do the same at a LongHorn Steakhouse. But at the gun range, he said, there is more regulation.

“No situation is perfect, but at least you’re doing due diligence to control it,” Wizner said. “You’re not going to have your typical alcoholic walking in.”

The other Powder Springs resident to object before the council, Rickie Geiger, said: “With all due respect to Dr. Wizner, I don’t think it matters how much money you’ve got, a drunk is a drunk. … There’s a difference between a LongHorn and a firing range.”

The vote to approve the alcohol license was 3-2, with Wizner, Rosalyn Neal and Cheryl Sarvis for, and Hudson and Al Thurman against. The latter two were also on the dissenting end of a 3-2 vote to waive the ordinance that requires establishments serving alcohol by the drink to bring in more than 50 percent of their profits from food.

Thurman pointed to the city being very strict on restaurants about the ordinance.

But the council already waved the ordinance for another private club, the American Legion, Vaughn noted.

Finger foods will be available at the range, and the Browns said they expect to receive some business from people stopping by just to have lunch.

Ground was broke on the project in June, and if all goes to plan, the range could open either before Christmas or shortly after the New Year.

Should the range be allowed to serve alcohol? Tell us in the comments.

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listgirl3 September 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Are you kidding me? Who in their right mind thinks alcohol and guns are a good mix - EVER?
knick fan September 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Bad idea! No guns allowed where the alcohol is served is good but what happens when the gun is returned when the person is leaving? It doesn't take much to piss off a drunk person with a gun. Not to mention that person could be driving drunk with a gun.
Richard September 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
If gun lovers and -toters shoot themselves in the foot, or even shoot one another, I don't think I'm going to feel too sorry about it.
Richard September 27, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I don't agree with your overall point but I do want to say that you're right in suggesting that there's an irony in our outlawing drinking and driving while bars have parking lots; and i agree that "mutli-ton vehicles" (such as huge, 3-ton SUVs) are dangerous and should not be driven (for example) with one hand while the other hand is holding a cell phone. I'd take away their power steering so that they need two hands to put that big truck through a turn!!
Quiet Professional September 27, 2012 at 06:36 PM
See my reply to Hawk, above. The owners have a very well-thought out policy that goes far and above what any restaurant or bar would ever enforce. There will be zero issues.
Quiet Professional September 27, 2012 at 06:44 PM
While it might be said that I have a bit of a redneck streak in me -- I was, after all, born in Texas and have lived much of my life in the South, which I love -- I'm a corporate attorney, serve in the state military reserve, have a wife and kids, and am active in my church and community. I'm sorry you've bought into the liberal media's stereotype of gun owners as drunken "rednecks". Besides which, most of the folks I know who you probably perceive to be "rednecks" are extremely competent and responsible when it comes to firearms.
Quiet Professional September 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
And we're all broken up about that, Richard. How will we cope knowing you'll never feel sorry for us?
kristina brown September 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Quiet Professional-Thank you for your support!
Ken Case September 27, 2012 at 06:52 PM
While the onsite strictures seem well suited to the situation, it's still not a good idea; booze and bullets are a very bad mix. When an extraneous factor comes into play, such as spending a little too much time at the slop chute, that people get hurt - - somebody as too much to drink, forgets to clear/safe his or her weapon, and it just magically goes off. Firearms safety is a 100% deal, and being fuzzy/buzzy does very bad things to the thought processes. Again, a bad idea.
Denise Carmen September 27, 2012 at 07:05 PM
I see no problem with serving drinks at the gun club. You guys are flipping out with all kinds of imagined scenarios....'Ooooo, what if they all get drunk as skunks and then get all their guns back, then go driving, get mad, shoot innocent people right and left, because, as we all know, having a couple glasses of wine or beer drives drunks crazy! They are not even serving hard liquor for crying out loud! I can't believe there are so many people who are so completely misinformed about the difference between alcohol abuse and the enjoyment of a pleasant drink. The people driving from the gun club are NOT the ones everyone should be worried about, they are experienced, legal gun owners persuing their interest legally at a private gun club and they are less likely to shoot anyone even if they were all drunk as skunks. It's the criminals with stolen guns and no experience except what they learned from Big Daddy Mo or whoever who will shoot us on the road in cold blood.
EmbracetheDarkness September 27, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I hear banjos...
L.C.Mayo September 27, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I have been around gun clubs my whole life, kids winning contests, going to the grand. I have never seen any accidents at a shooting range that served drinks and beer. Its those who "think " they know how to shoot and "play" with their guns who have accidents, or those who dare to bring a gun into a home and not have each pamily member take a shooting course.
L.C.Mayo September 27, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Stop watching TV, rednecks on tv drinking yes, reality, people that are very well off, better than you can imagine, spending thousands on guns and traveling with the clubs are not going to get drunk and then shoot or drive.They have a drink AFTER, they are done shooting. You can drink a beer and not get drunk. More dangerouse at a picnick with people drinking and throwing horse shoes.lol How abour race car drivers after they have a beer!
Ed September 27, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Liberal steriotyping. I and my family are all from the south (redneck country). My father was both a shooter and a drinker (I'm not a drinker). While growing up I heard him on several occations refuse an invite to go shooting because he had consumed a couple of beers earlier in the day. He was a firm believer in not mixing alcohol and guns. I am in total agreement with him.
Mike Thomas September 27, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Guns and booze - let the body count begin.
drunken bum September 27, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Yeah, ok "No Issues" Only club members can get booze, get plastered and drive drunk and with guns. REAL SMART. Local Rod and Guns club here has same so called rules, who enforces them, another drunk club member.
MAx September 27, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Guns, Alcohol and Red Necks, WOW in some states thats called "Strike Three"!
Melinda Paris September 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM
There is 1000's of firing ranges/shooting ranges in this country, why do you suppose 98% do not allow alcohol? I like the way some are calling people in this area "rednecks" on this post, just wondering where is that coming from? Then we have other's stating how we're imagining senario's, of course no one can predict what could and will happen, but isn't it better to be safe than sorry? Why live on the edge with weapons? We've had guns my entire life, my husband has gone hunting since He was 5 years old with his dad, the main thing is people have to have respect for all weapons and for themselves. I don't agree with this decision, but I'm also NOT going to call the ones that do agree with the decision degrading names and/or belittle anyone, that's wrong, and I wish anyone that opens a new business in this economy much success!
KELLI September 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM
what a joke why would ANYONE need a drink while firing a gun COME ON
KELLI September 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Why have booze at all , come on people wake up
KELLI September 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Someone smart Thank You
Barbara Barrow-pettard September 27, 2012 at 11:35 PM
You know it won't! People will be there in droves! I was raised with guns, when I was ten my father took us and let us shoot my grandfather's colt 45 that he used when he as a deputy us marshall, We all had our hunting rifles, although I like to shoot I let my Dad and brothers, kill things, I do like deer meat Quail, and pheasant, ok i like to eat game. I don't hunt anymore I think it's too dangerous, I'v lived in the in a lot of different states and the one thing I have found out that the sound shot hunters out number those who take it serious, (a sound shot you know you hear a sound then you shoot) Tried Bow hunting, for a while, and that was fun Now that is true hunting, you really have to be clever to get a deer with a bow, do like bow fishing got quit good at that, didn't like eating, well cleaning the fish so just sold them to a local fish market, but then they all had to be head shots. But the one thing I learned and I'm 70 now, is NO ALCOHOL! NOT AROUND GUNS! SOME ONE COULD GET KILLED! Of course tha'ts Georgia, so what's one more red neck more or less.
Barbara Barrow-pettard September 27, 2012 at 11:38 PM
To chuck: Chuck no it doesn't take an alcoholic one drink is enough to impair your thinking make you reactions slower: I'm not that worried about you drinking and driving although there is that. I more worried about accidents, and drinking on drink will increase your chances of haing one.
Vicki September 28, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Look out for more Darwin Awards nominees . . .
doug September 28, 2012 at 12:41 AM
No, no, no. It is totally inappropriate for alcohol to be served at a gun range. Geez, can't the shooters wait until they get home? It is just as illogical to shoot and drink as it is to drive and drink. This has nothing to do with folks rights...it has to do with common sense. I love shooting, but dang sure don't have to have a drink to do it. All of us are more likely to have an accident or mental lapse when we drink, so let's not increase problems at shooting ranges. I say the folks who applied for and the folks who approved this permit made stupid decisions. Period.
Quiet Professional September 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Well said, Suzie.
Quiet Professional September 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Well stated, Denise.
Victoria September 28, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Comment to Kelli's question, "Why would anyone need a drink while firing a gun?" The answer is, They Don't, and Won't . It is a membership club only, meaning 'they' have to sign in... The bar is separate from the range. No member is allowed to drink, then go to the range. By the same token, after a member shoots on the range their guns have to be secured in their locker before entering the bar. And no member is allowed to return to the range after drinking in the bar... In GA unloaded guns can openly be carried in a vehicle by an adult anywhere on the road... One just hopes that the "Bubba" who is tailgating you in his pickup is also 'not drunk' and carrying a loaded gun. I also found it expedient to get the heck out of their way......
Jim Demkowski October 18, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The people who are against this business plan do not fully understand it. This is not a bar. It is a social (Country Club) atmosphere for gun enthusiast. Please do not try to thwart or doom someones ideas just because you do not agree with them. Powder Springs has the ability to monitor the issues in question and if there is a problem it will be handled. I liked this future business so much that I purchased two Full Metal Jacket memberships. I am glad that there is going to be a upscale gun/archery range for the community to enjoy.
K. Brown April 07, 2013 at 06:39 PM
AMEN BROTHER!

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