On target: Wilshire Gun Range gets liquor license approval
By Jay Dillon
A new gun range, expected to open later this spring, has received approval from the City of Oklahoma City to serve alcohol on site.The city council voted Tuesday 6-3 to approve the liquor license for Wilshire Gun Range. Fox 25 first reported on the gun range's request on April 11th. The state-of-the-art gun range is expected to open in the spring, though an exact date has not been set. Owners say it will make history in the Sooner State. At 40,000 square feet co-owner Jeff Swanson says Wilshire Gun will be a full-fledged destination."As a group we wanted to build a place, the first one in Oklahoma, where you could go in, shoot, enjoy the retail area and then go to the café," he said.The plan for the gun range includes 24 firearm lanes, 10 archery lanes, a simulation room, classrooms, VIP Lounge, and a cafe. The gun range intends to serve food and alcohol in the cafe. Folks with the range insist it can be done safely. They say they're working with several ranges from California to Texas who have never had a problem.They just have to ensure folks shoot, then drink, and not the other way around."Any misconceptions or joking aside, beer and bullets, guns and alcohol, they do not mix," Swanson said.A major aspect of the safety plan includes scanning any customer's license before he or she operates a lane or orders food, alcohol or merchandise."Once your order a drink your driver's license is scanned and you are red-flagged and you're not allowed into any of the shooting facilities either as a spectator and certainly not as a shooter for the remainder of the day," Swanson said.According to Capt. Brent Fairchild with the ABLE Commission, this gun range that would also serve alcohol is believed to be the first in the state."I've not seen a business that does the firearms that has a liquor license," Fairchild said. "But it's possible that if they apply they could be the first one."Staff will be trained in field sobriety and use cameras to monitor customers. But folks with the agency that polices liquor establishments are still skeptical."I guess you could go back to the old adage where there's a will there's a way, so no matter how many safeguards you do put in place there's always someone who's going to try to get around those," Fairchild said.Now that the city council has approved the request, Wilshire Gun Range must apply for a license from the ABLE Commission.
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