Several firearms clubs around the state have contacted GOAL regarding keeping their facilities open during the COVID-19 crisis. First and foremost, let us say that any action you take during this time should be done with the health and welfare of your members as priority one. Also, non-profit clubs (rod and gun) are considered private property. How that property is utilized is determined by laws, regulations and its members.
During this time GOAL suggests that club leadership look at their facilities to determine whether or not range closure is prudent based on what the experts tell us and the implementation of “Best Practices”. (A link to the State’s Prevention methods can be found below.) It should be fairly simple to ascertain whether your club can accomplish these procedures on the outdoor ranges. Certainly, everyone should be required to bring their own sanitizing materials to clean their station after use.
For example, most of your outdoor rifle and pistol ranges likely have many shooting positions. Perhaps only open every other or every third station. The same should be available on skeet and trap ranges, but even so, keep the number of people in and around them to a minimum.
Indoor ranges certainly have different considerations. Here are some things to think about regarding indoor ranges:
- How are people entering the facility?
- Door Knobs
- Log In Books
- Card Swipes
- What do people have to activate to utilize the indoor range?
- Is your range big enough to create social distancing?
- How is the range air exchange system (HVAC)?
- Can users sanitize their stations and everything they have to handle like target returns?
Then there needs to be decisions made regarding the club house itself. This is where things could become problematic.
- Do you allow members to use the restrooms? If so, how do you keep them sanitized?
- Do you allow any access to the club house? If so, how do you regulate it?
- Do you serve food or beverages? If so, should you continue?
- Would you allow anyone to bring food or beverages to be consumed while in the club house or ranges?
Any and all users of indoor ranges, outdoor ranges, and general facilities should be directed to bring their own sanitizing materials, sanitizer, and perhaps even their own toilet paper, if those facilities are made available. Wiping down shared equipment like gate locks, rests, toilet seats and light switches before and after use is just common sense. In general, once your club makes the decisions necessary, they should post on their website and email their members what is open and what the criteria are.
Our non-profit rod and gun clubs are, more or less, our parks. They provide both mental and physical benefits for range users as well as fulfill an important part of our Second Amend civil rights. We can all agree that the mental benefit we get from recreational shooting and training is an absolute positive during these stressful times. The 25 to 300 yard walk to change targets is a cardiovascular benefit, not to mention the vitamin D input from a little exposure to the sun. All things that public healthcare providers advocate for.
During this time GOAL suggests that club leadership look at their facilities to determine whether or not keeping your facilities open, or even partially open can be accomplished with the information we have provided.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
- Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- If you must go out:
- Don’t gather in groups
- Stay 6 feet away from others
- Don’t shake hands or hug
- And please continue to wash your hands frequently
Massachusetts COVID-19 Prevention Information: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-prevention-and-treatment#latest-guidance-
Massachusetts Essential Service/Business List: https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-essential-services/download
OSHA has provided guidance that clubs may review at: