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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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


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