May target date set for Q.C. shooting range - East Valley Tribune: News

May target date set for Q.C. shooting range

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Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009 2:45 pm | Updated: 2:56 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Queen Creek gun enthusiasts soon won’t have to travel far to go shooting. Two Mesa-based contractors have plans to open Cunningham’s Indoor Shooting Range this spring in Power Marketplace at Power and Rittenhouse roads in Queen Creek.

Queen Creek gun enthusiasts soon won’t have to travel far to go shooting.

Two Mesa-based contractors have plans to open Cunningham’s Indoor Shooting Range this spring in Power Marketplace at Power and Rittenhouse roads in Queen Creek.

Co-owners Chris Cunningham and Ted Williams have worked together in the construction industry for about 26 years. But with the construction industry slow, Cunningham said he wanted to pursue another longtime interest.

“I just wanted to do something I would enjoy, and I’ve always enjoyed hunting,” Cunningham said.

Plans for the range include 10 shooting lanes with an observation area, classrooms where people of all ages can take gun safety and other classes and a shop to sell guns and ammunition on-site, Williams said. 

“Our goal is to have a very clean, family-friendly, female-friendly facility so anyone of any age would feel comfortable going in there and shopping shooting,” Williams said. 

Cunningham teaches firearms classes, something he describes as a hobby. He’s been certified by the National Rifle Association to teach gun safety classes for about five years and has taught concealed-carry courses for three years.

Once the range opens, Cunningham and his wife both plan to teach classes to all ages, many of them for free, he said.

“To me, safety is paramount,” he said. “You need safety regardless, whether you’re a gun owner or not.”

Williams and Cunningham both see a need for a new shooting range.

While there are other shooting ranges in the Valley, Cunningham said there aren’t many and some of them can be quite a drive.

A search on www.wheretoshoot.org, a Web site kept up by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, lists four public ranges in Mesa and Scottsdale. The closest to Queen Creek is Caswells Indoor Shooting Range near Horne and U.S. 60 in Mesa.

Because going out to many areas of the desert to practice is illegal and existing gun ranges can have waits to get in, Cunningham said there’s a market for his business.

“People want to go to a place they can go and safely shoot,” he said. “And it’s hot in Arizona, so the best place to do it is in the air conditioning.”

The application for the business is scheduled to go to the town’s planning commission on Jan. 13, said Queen Creek Planning Manager Wayne Balmer.

Cunningham’s would open in an existing building in the industrial area of Power Marketplace. The building is pre-engineered for a shooting range, with 5-inch thick concrete walls and specially designed backstops and a roof to ensure safety, Balmer said.

“It’s entirely self-contained and it’s soundproofed, so the neighbors shouldn’t see or hear anything,” Balmer said.

If everything goes according to plan, the shooting range will open in May, Williams said.

And Williams is expecting the community to welcome the new business.

“Everybody I’ve talked to is excited about it. So I feel very positive about it,” Williams said. “It seems like no matter where we’re at, people are excited about it.”

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