A US state government agency is set to announce it will purchase 10 indoor shooting spots for the 2018 calendar year, including five in Texas.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to make a final announcement in the coming days, but the purchase is the latest in a string of government purchases for indoor shooting facilities across the US.
“The purchase of these indoor shooting sites is expected in 2019,” said Dr. Sarah Schulte, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The goal is to reduce deaths from indoor-fire incidents by 15 percent, with a minimum of two deaths a year,” she added.
A range is a building that is built with two or more different outdoor shooting ranges, such as an indoor or outdoor shooting range.
The goal of indoor shooting is to give the shooter an opportunity to shoot indoors and still be safe.
“There’s a great sense of pride to have a range in your backyard,” said Chris Phelan, director and senior director of outdoor safety for the American Outdoor Brands Association.
“We’ve got a lot of fun shooting, and we’ve got fun shooters who are enjoying their shooting,” he said.
“And we’re trying to make it as safe as possible,” added Phelany.
The indoor shooting community has been lobbying for more safety measures in the past.
A bill in 2018 called the Safety and Health for Outdoor Recreation Act (SHORT ACT) received strong support in Congress and became law.
It required the CDC to develop a plan to increase the number of shooting ranges and to implement safe gun storage and handling practices.
It also set up a task force to study the issue.
“I think it’s time for this to happen,” said Phelans son, Chris, who is a competitive shooter.
The CDC is looking to build a state-of-the-art facility, with state and local agencies providing funding, including $1.6 million to build the indoor range.
A second indoor shooting facility is being built in Texas, but that’s in the works, too.
“It’s the perfect combination of safety, fun and fun shooting,” said Mike Karpowitz, director for health and safety at the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“With a range, you can have a lot more fun shooting indoors and out,” said Karpowitz.
“A lot of people say, ‘I don’t like the smell of smoke coming from my backyard,’ so we want to make sure we don’t create that problem,” he added.
“You can get a great outdoor shooting experience, and it can be as safe and fun as the indoor setting,” said Schultes, who works at the CDC.