While you may not think a gun range would set up shop in D.C., which has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, one businessman is trying to make that a reality.
Walker Lunn considers shooting a family tradition and part of his heritage. Lunn grew up hunting and shooting in New Jersey.
“So it’s really about, you know, again, that that heritage and tradition, and making that accessible and introducing people to that sort of perspective on shooting sports,” Lunn told WTOP.
Lunn said he hopes to open the shooting range, gun store, cafe hybrid in the Penn Quarter area of downtown D.C. Though a precise location has not been set. He sees the location as a prime factor to make the range part of the fabric of D.C. because it is accessible from the Metro and within walking distance for many in the District. He also cited the already thriving night life.
The venue will be called Bangin’ and Lunn said both practiced shooters and novices will be welcome. He hopes it will open in early 2022.
“We have filed for licenses with the ATF and are in the process of doing all the filings that we need to do with the D.C. Metro P.D.,” Lunn said. “None of that’s done yet. We are looking for space and negotiating a lease for a space and once we finalize securing that space, that’s the sort of last bottleneck for our licenses and permits.”
In the past, D.C. allowed few options for purchasing firearms, but in the past few years more avenues have opened up.
“So it’s really sort of opened up and become a little bit more democratic, in that sense.”
Currently there are a number of businesses in the District that will transfer weapons to a D.C. resident that are either bought online or in another state. But Lunn said, “no one’s operating an actual storefront yet.” He hopes to be the first.
Not only will the new venue sell guns they will also rent guns to people who would like to learn to shoot but don’t want to buy a weapon.
“We’re going to carry a smaller inventory that people can kind of experiment with and explore some real classics some. You know something that’s popular like a Glock; something that is fun like the James Bond Walther PPK,” Lunn said. ”Or you want to shoot something a little bit bigger like … those big silver revolver Clint Eastwood-style firearms (Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum).”
Lunn assured that any first time shooters would get proper training.
“We’re gonna bring in instructors. Anyone operating a firearm in our establishment is going to have to go through a safety class — safety is incredibly, incredibly important for any firearm operation,” he said.
And Lunn is aware that many D.C. residents may be wary of a gun range opening downtown, especially with recent gun violence over the last year, but he hopes skeptics will keep an open mind.
“So, just before COVID, we launched a business called Certified Badass. And what we do is we curate epic experiences for people. What we found was a lot of our shooting sport oriented activities and experiences were some of the most popular and the people coming out were people who hadn’t handled a gun before and were curious. We provided a way that was tasteful and fun and safe. And, you know, they’ve enjoyed it, and they come back for more,” Lunn said.