The indoor shooting range building — called Dickinson Indoor Ranges — would have 8-inch thick concrete walls, as well as ballistic rubber and steel for soundproofing. Fully automatic rifles would be available for people to rent for use at the range, which would support the use of rifles as large as .50 caliber.
Dick’s business, which he will run alongside his business partner Todd Schweitzer, plans to feature a gunsmith, indoor archery range and an outdoor paintball course. The archery range could also be used for paintball in the winter, according to Dick.
Dick, who worked as a firefighter in Los Angeles County for more than 30 years, said he’s passionate about starting this business because he wants to provide members of the community with a safe place to learn how to use firearms safely and accurately.
“I’m a retired firefighter and I worked on a lot of victims who would not have been victims if they’d had a weapon to defend themselves,” he said.
Currently, Dick is having property surveyed for the indoor shooting range, which is planned to be located south of Interstate-94 and west of 116th Avenue Southwest — which is currently in Stark County zoning jurisdiction, but could be further complicated with the 2-mile ETZ expansion currently under consideration by the city.
According to Dick, the southwest North Dakota community have generally been very supportive of the Second Amendment and that without an indoor gun range, these people are being underserved.
“The closest indoor range is 90 miles away in Mandan. The (outdoor) range in Belfield is phenomenal, I was there the other day. I love it. We have a range in Manning — (the) Slope Area Gun, Rifle and Pistol Club. It’s a good range but it’s outdoor and the one thing we have in North Dakota is wind,” he said. “If you’re sighting in a rifle, you don’t want to be out in the cold and the wind.”
Dick noted that safety will be a top priority at the range.
“When the doors open, there will be a certified range safety officer there, period. You don’t shoot unless there’s somebody there,” he said, adding that he will make sure every customer has the proper safety training before they step out onto the gun or archery range.
The Stark County Board of Commissioners approved zoning for the project in 2019 and has maintained his conditional use permit for the past three years. Dick remarked that he was significant toward getting the project started but the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in his plans.
“I actually looked for having this range being built in July of last year. That’s how close I was. I had a gentleman in town who had 25 weapons ready for the raffle. I talked to in excess of a thousand people who said, ‘Let’s build this,’” he said. “Then COVID hit and it absolutely dried up everybody… So COVID absolutely put a halt on this.”
With building an indoor shooting range, Dick has an uphill financial battle to see his dream come to fruition. According to estimates from a construction company in Dickinson, the project has a hefty price tag estimate of $1.6 million to complete. To date, Dick says he has committed more than $50,000 and has tentative agreements for an additional $200,000 from an unnamed contractor who would provide his services to become a partner in the business.
Dick added that with his own contributions, and those of potential partners, the project may be eligible for a National Rifle Association grant upon approval of a building permit. With the investments and financial grants expected to bring the project closer to a reality, Dick said he was looking to break ground on the construction before the end of the year.
Schweitzer, who’s an insurance agent with American Family, said that even though they have financial backers and great prospects for seeing the project come to fruition, investment opportunities are still available for potential investors.
“If someone wants to get in as an owner — a part-owner in the LLC — in the project, we’re having a contract drawn up now and that’ll be available for investors,” Schweitzer said, adding that they’re also seeking more contractors to do in-kind work as an investment in the project.
Dick plans to open a complimentary restaurant called “Lead and Breakfast,” and teach firearms safety classes to help raise money for the project.
For additional information on the proposed indoor shooting range, contact Dick at 701-761-0141 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.