Thursday, October 6, 2022

TGC’s Outside Shooting Range Is First In Oxford Area

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Location of the new outdoor range off Highway 7

TGC Outdoors, a firearm store about 10 miles out of town on Highway 7 North, has opened the first outdoor gun range in Oxford.  

At present the store is operating a pistol range but a rifle range should be done by this coming spring.

TGC Outdoors sells firearms, suppressors, night vision and other outdoor gear. The store has been open since 2010 as a way, says owner Joshua Gregory, to share his passion with the community. Gregory says his goal has always been to open an outdoor shooting range.

“Lafayette County needs a safe place for people to shoot,” Gregory said. “Unfortunately, there is nowhere in Lafayette County to legally shoot unless you own private land. Most people don’t have access to private land.”

The range has been designed using and exceeding all NRA guidelines to ensure safety. That includes installed 12 -foot burns around all the sections. Gregory says the TGC outdoors range has three times the safety requirements that the NRA recommends. In addition to the burns, six-foot they walls enclose the entire range.

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More women and youngsters are using guns.

“I have no safety fears at all,” Gregory said, confidently. “In fact, I plan on building a home on the same property.  I have three young boys, ages 7, 5, and 4 months. I wouldn’t build a home close to the range if I thought there were any safety concerns.”

Future plans call for at least four outdoor ranges depending on property clearance once brush is removed from the back area. Basic range construction cost an estimated $150,000.

Gregory says every dollar made from the range memberships will pay for further improvements and additional firearms available for rent.  Gun equipment for rent includes silencers, fully automatic firearms, pistols, rifles, tactical shotguns and tactical rifles.

The front range will be used primarily for handguns. Gregory says, under special arrangement with the store, hunters can target practice with their deer rifles on the pistol range.

Unlike indoor shooting ranges, space won’t be a problem with potentially 20 shooting lanes available.

The handgun range is now open to the public. The additional ranges are being built, but Gregory says membership sales have an impact on how fast construction proceeds.

Customers will be able to rent firearms for an hour at a rate between $20 and $30 depending on the gun. Yearly and lifetime memberships are also available to discount the rental fees.

TGC’s inventory includes 50 different types of firearms and suppressors that members and non-members can rent. Gregory plans to increase the list as the ranges continue to grow.

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Land is being cleared for three additional firing ranges.

Larry Britt, county engineer and planner, briefed the Lafayette Board of Supervisors members on the range as an unbiased professional.  “My job is to review the applications and plans submitted to the Lafayette County Planning Commission,” he said “I didn’t push for or against the firing range.”

TGC Outdoors offers classes for every level of shooter. Even customers who’ve never held a gun can learn how to use it, and feel comfortable, Gregory says. The store currently leads guided hog hunts at night and plans marksmanship competitions in the future.

Gregory believes his job is to educate people on guns and gun safety. He understands the point of view of anti gun critics, but insists gun regulation is not the way to prevent violence.

“A lot of the people discussing increased regulation are people who don’t understand guns,” Gregory said. “There’s a fear of things you don’t understand, but going after the gun isn’t going to help anything. I work around a lot of scary looking guns — never has one hopped off the wall and assaulted me.”

Gregory concedes background checks and mental health monitoring make sense, but adds most gun stores already do both. Instead of citizens giving up their Second Amendment rights, he calls for the government to enforce the laws the already have in place.

“There’s always the guy in a van on the side of the road in downtown Memphis who you can buy a gun from,” Gregory explained. “If you don’t crack down on that guy, it doesn’t matter how strict you are with gun stores. I’m pretty sure there are already laws against murder.”

While County Engineer Britt says he won’t be a customer at the range once it’s finished, Ole Miss students are excited to have the opportunity to practice their skills. Many consider shooting a sport, despite controversy in the news.

Garner Reesby, a graduate student in the accounting department at Ole Miss and avid sportsman, thinks the range is a great idea for Oxford. “There are plenty of sportsmen in the city and surrounding area who enjoy shooting because they have a background in hunting,” Reesby said.

TGC’s back ranges will include a 100-yard rifle range, steel target range, and training ranges.

“I enjoy shooting my .22 pistol at ranges for target practice,” Reesby said.  “I also like shooting my 7-mm magnum rifle. A long-distance range would be popular with hunters.”

For more information on the ranges, visit www.tgcoutdoors.com.

Jane Lloyd Brown recently graduated from the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The Baton Rouge native shoots guns, but doesn’t claim to be an expert.

 

 

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