Planning commission approves private shooting range application

The Regional Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit application submitted by Giovanni and Shannon Giordano to allow a private, by invitation only, shooting range to be located at the intersection of Conservation Road and Spring River Road west of Winnemucca. The application was approved at the June 13 meeting. 

According to the application, the shooting range will be available for law enforcement training and for shooting competitions such as conducted through the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).

Shannon Giordano said the public shooting range was problematic for the law enforcement because they were not able to train under specific conditions.  “We, as civilians don't need to be in the middle of their training sessions,” she said. “We don't need to be seeing how they train, what they train and why they train for certain situations when it pertains to us as civilians and emergency situations.”

In addition to use by law enforcement, the Giordanos expect to use the proposed range for shooting matches. Shannon Giordano said they were approached to open a private range because there are few places available in the western part of the United States that are not in an urban area for competitive shooting matches. 

The proposed range is an outdoor range located in a sparsely populated area and taking advantage of the natural terrain. She told the commission that by using the natural terrain in conjunction with berms that meet Department of Energy range management guidelines. The couple would like to set up the range with bays parallel to each other to mitigate ricochet and other stray ballistic occurrences. “There's a lot of matches that we go to [that] they don't go off [the Department of Energy] range criteria,” she told the commission, “and their berms tend to, over time … get lower.” The Giordanos told the commission that as a private range they will be able to maintain their berms to a higher standard.  The use by competitive shooting organizations would help pay for maintenance.  The Giordanos expect that shooting competitions could draw as many as 600 to 800 to events held at their range. Long term goals include bringing in level 2 and level 3 matches to the range. 

Because the range is private and any competition is by invitation only, Shannon Giordano said that access to the range would be tightly controlled. In addition to limiting access, the Giordanos told the commission that the range will accommodate only pistols. During competitive shooting matches, she told the commission there are strict safety guidelines to follow, including the use of multiple range officers. “There's basically four range officers per bay during these matches, so each of them has a safety task to watch shooters to make sure things are being done,” she said. “There is absolutely no tolerance” for weapons abuse or for breaches in firearm safety.

Shannon Giordano said the proposal calls for two phases. The first phase is to start with six to eight shooting bays and to focus on access for law enforcement first because they would be able to use these bays right away.  Additional phase one activities would include an entrance gate and parking area.  Other plans include up to 24 bays, shooting houses and a conference building for off-range training. 

According to planning documents, the Giordanos have 12 months to begin any phase of the project. In a separate interview, Shannon said they hope to have their first local match in August or September.