New gun range could be built near airport

In a move that may provide Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club with a new home and area law enforcement a place to practice, developer Phil Canter is looking just north of Bear Lake at a possible site for a multi-use firing range.

Canter emphasized that he and his company, West End Lane, are just in the preliminary stages and still have to talk to the residents of Bear Lake and nearby May Ranch. However, Canter said the site is far superior to the one he looked at in Olalla within the last year.

“It just all makes a lot of sense,” he said. “I think this is an infinitely better site.”

The $3 million complex, which will be called Olympic Sportsman’s Club, will have trap and skeet shooting, a 50-meter pistol range, a 200-meter rifle range and a clubhouse with classrooms. It will also offer hunters opportunities to sight their weapons prior to the hunting season.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be one of the finest facilities of its kind in the nation,” Canter said.

The ranges are designed so that the muzzles of the firearms would point toward the airport — away from Bear Lake and May Ranch. Canter also plans to leave 100 of the 120 acres on the site as dense forest and brush, which will also help to minimize noise.

However, he said he is doing a formal noise study to ensure the complex has a minimal impact on local neighborhoods.

Canter said the club will be open to general membership, although firearms rental will not be available. He said he intends for the complex to be a regional, not just a local, facility.

“No matter what peoples’ personal feelings about firearms, (ranges) do serve the public good with regard to safety training and providing a controlled (shooting) environment,” Canter said.

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