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Gun range and retail store takes off with a bang

Posted: December 11, 2012 - 8:45pm  |  Updated: December 12, 2012 - 12:10pm

A proposed indoor gun range and retail shop near the airport has received permit approval from the City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission Tuesday night.

The 13,000 square foot space would house a food counter and gun retail shop upstairs and a five-lane gun range in a concrete box below ground. Juneau Mercantile and Armory would situate its facility at 1720 Crest Street. The property is owned by Valley Center Development LLC.

The shop and range would employ between a 12 and 15 people. Customers could rent automatic weapons for use under the watchful eye of a National Rifle Association certified range safety officer.

Mercantile and Armory is owned by Planning Commissioner Dan Miller, Jason Tarver and Sloan Swendsen.

CBJ staff recommended the commission adopt the permit.

Commissioner Marsha Bennett cast the sole no vote. She said she was opposed to the use of automatic weapons. She was joined by local resident Amy Page, who testified that she is appalled that the city might approve of the use of automatic weapons.

“Our goal is to provide a safe facility,” Swendsen said. “To educate the youth and their parents.”

Shooting machine guns is a pastime spreading across the U.S., Swendsen said.

“We are the first in Alaska,” Swendsen said. “But we won’t be the last.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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