State says shooting range must close under gym shutdown order

The state apparently believes that shooting ranges are "indoor sports facilities" and therefore must close alongside gyms.

Chad Walsh, owner of Dead on Arms. (Images from Dead on Arms Facebook page)

The owners of Dead On Arms say they’re willing to face fines and jail time to keep their business open amid Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s coronavirus shutdown.

The governor reinstated his closure of gyms and other indoor sports facilities in mid November. Now, the state and a local sheriff’s department have targeted Dead On Arms, located in Cloquet, claiming it needs to close its doors because it operates an indoor shooting range that may be considered a sports facility.

Chad Walsh and his wife, Laura, are the owners of Dead On Arms. Chad is also a Moose Lake police officer. He says he believes that his ability to keep his business open is protected under Minnesota Statute 624.7192.

This statute ensures that no government official can “prohibit, regulate, or curtail the otherwise lawful possession, carrying, transportation, transfer, defensive use, or other lawful use” of guns, ammunition or related accessories.

Jake Duesenberg of Action 4 Liberty spoke with Walsh, who confirmed that he intends to keep his business open and will not acquiesce in the face of action by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Much like the gyms that say they can safely open amid the virus, indoor shooting ranges can make a strong case that they’re not hotbeds for coronavirus transmission.

When Walsh constructed his $2 million facility, he had to comply with government standards to ensure adequate air exchange.

Firing guns in an enclosed space can be dangerous without air exchange as burning gunpowder generates potentially noxious fumes and vaporizes small amounts of lead, which is harmful to breathe in large quantities.

To combat this, indoor ranges ensure a negative pressure vacuum. This means that all the air inside the range at any given time is continually being sucked out and replaced with fresh air.

The range at Dead On Arms also has barriers between shooters.

The shooting range at Dead On Arms features active air exchange and barriers between shooters. (Facebook/Dead On Arms)