Federal Way’s first indoor shooting range has generated a buzz among gun enthusiasts and law enforcement.
Federal Way Discount Guns opened the long-awaited range on Monday on South 324th Street. The indoor range features top-notch ventilation and soundproofing, with more than a dozen lanes for target practice.
Federal Way gun owners who travel to shooting ranges in Puyallup, Tacoma and Ravensdale now have one in their own backyard.
For members of the Armed Defense Training Association, the shooting range marks a milestone. The non-profit ADTA promotes responsible firearms events and education at the region’s ranges.
Mark Knapp, a local attorney who writes a column about firearms for The Mirror, helped inspire the ADTA’s formation with a December 2010 column titled “Federal Way needs a shooting arts center.”
In the column, Knapp explored the potential cultural and economic impact of a local shooting range.
“We want to see this place be a huge success,” Knapp said. “With a facility like this, there’s no limit.”
Knapp joined ADTA members Ed Streit and Dan Goede at the new shooting range on Monday in Federal Way. They complimented the facility as a clean and appropriate place to practice, even for families.
“Anyone can buy a gun,” Goede said. “They have an obligation to learn how to shoot those guns safely and responsibly.”
(Pictured: Federal Way resident Dan Goede inside the new shooting range at Federal Way Discount Guns.)
The range requires membership and background checks for every customer, all in the name of safety.
Business owner Moe Baghai also wanted a clean and health-conscious facility.
The gunfire is barely audible outside the building, where a massive ventilation system takes up an entire outside wall. Inside the range, the system constantly cleans the air, removing up to 700 pounds of airborne lead every nine months.
For 22 years, Baghai has operated his gun shop in Federal Way, formerly at a location on Pacific Highway South. The shooting range adds another dimension to both his business and the local culture.
“It gives people a place to come to, a place to gather and share their hobbies,” Baghai said, adding that the time seemed right to open the range.
In the coming months, the range will expand to include more shooting lanes. A covered front patio will feature refreshments and seating for customers to take breaks.
(Pictured: Guns for rent behind a glass case at Federal Way Discount Guns and Shooting Range)
The shooting range also solves a problem for Federal Way police.
Officers no longer need to leave Federal Way to practice their marksmanship. Through an arrangement with the shooting range, Federal Way police can sharpen their proficiency while on duty.
When a Federal Way officer uses deadly force, weapon proficiency means fewer bullets are fired — and that means a safer community, said Federal Way Police Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter.
“Nobody’s a master at anything unless they train a lot and regularly,” said Sumpter, a recent contestant on The History Channel show “Top Shot.”
Several police departments in the area have their own private shooting ranges. The Federal Way Police Department, which lacks the finances to build and maintain a local range, was sending officers to train in Puyallup.
“This availability to use a range, financially, this is the next best thing,” Sumpter said. “This is a great example of the private sector merging with the public sector for the good of the community.”
For civilians, gun safety coincides with practice and familiarity.
“This is structured, organized and controlled,” Sumpter said of the new shooting range. “Frankly, I think it’s a safer way to practice than to take a truck full of guys and go to the mountains.”
• Federal Way Discount Guns and Indoor Range is located at 1401 S. 324th St. The range is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday, except holidays. Call (253) 927-5229.
• The Armed Defense Training Association (ADTA) is based in Federal Way. The group sponsors regular events at local shooting ranges. Monthly meetings focus on the safety and educational aspects of gun ownership. Contact (206) 979-9877 or email@example.com or visit ArmedDefense.org.
(Pictured: Federal Way resident Mark Knapp specializes in firearms law and had advocated for a shooting range in Federal Way.)