It’s amazing how one week can change our lives. This week I had plans to visit the range several times, but that was upended by the necessary precautionary measures by my local Department of Public Health to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Although the measures impact my work in the gun media, contacting the virus would have worse consequences for my family and community.
On March 17, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement recommending that gatherings of 250 or more be postponed or canceled. Smaller gatherings were advised to implement social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet between people. The emphasis is to prevent people physically coming together unnecessarily and spreading the infection. The “guidance,” as the CDPH called it, does not apply to work or essential services. The CDPH recommendation is in effect until March 31, but it may extend beyond.
Seven counties in California took further steps and issued a “shelter in place” directive. The seven counties are adjacent to each other and include 7 million people. Everyone is to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks. Only essential businesses are to remain open. The essential businesses include, banks, hardware stores, grocery stores, farming, hospitals, gas and electric, and more. Bars and nightclubs have been ordered closed. Restaurants and cafes are takeout or delivery only. Gym and recreational facilities in California were ordered closed.
I live in one of the counties under the directive. The gun ranges I visit have been closed until further notice. I reached out to ranges that I frequent in counties north of me not subject to the shelter-in-place directive. The Sacramento Valley Shooting Center (www.sacvalley.org) was open on Tuesday but closed on Wednesday due to the pandemic. The Yolo Sportsmen’s Association (www.yolosportsmanassociation.com) was open Wednesday but closed on Thursday for the same reason.
Curious how other ranges were dealing with the crisis, I contacted ranges throughout the state of California. I had little luck speaking to a person at gun shops with indoor ranges; The phone kept ringing or went to voicemail. The rush to buy guns and ammo is overwhelming the stores. Undeterred, I checked their Facebook pages for updates, but only a few mentioned how they were handling the recommendations from the CDC and CDPH. One of those, The Barnwood Arms Co. (www.thebarnwoodarms.com) in Ripon, California, indicated that they are open, but are limiting the number of customers in their facility at any given time.
Looking to the South Bay Area, San Leandro Rifle & Pistol Range (www.slrifle.com) and the Los Altos Rod & Gun Club Range (www.losaltosrodandgunclub.com) are closed until further notice.
South of me in central California, Coalinga Rifle Club (www.coalingarifleclub.com) was closed, but Kings Gun Center Indoor Range (www.kingsguncenter.com) in nearby Hanford remains open but cautions those who feel ill to stay home.
In southern California, Oaktree Gun Club (www.oaktreegunclub.com), an outdoor range in Newhall states that it is open. They, too, are following best practices to minimize the spread of infection. Los Angeles County has a population more than 10 million but is not under lockdown. I found several ranges around the L.A. basin and in the surrounding counties which address COVID-19. North County Shooting Center (www.northcountyshootingcenter.com) in San Marcos remain open. On Evan’s Gun World (www.evansgunworld.com) posted on Instagram an image of their range with the text “we are open.” They also have a recent image showing sanitizing and cleaning products available at the range.
One of the exceptions is The Los Angeles Gun Club (www.thelosangelesgunclub.com) indoor shooting range which stated it is closed through March 31, 2020, due to the “restrictions from city of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on the shutdown of all entertainment businesses."
During the period in writing this article, I updated the status of several ranges to reflect closures. As COVID-19 continues to touch our lives, state and local governments and businesses are assessing precautionary measures to stem the virus’s spread. Stay safe and keep your distance. Let us know how ranges have been affected in your area of the United State by email Guns & Ammo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*At the end of the day on March 19, 2020 California GovernorGavin Newsom issued an executive order that all individuals living in the stateof California are to stay home and that only essential businesses are toremain open. There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors which are consideredessential. Gun ranges and gun shops are not considered essential and must abideby the order.