OKLAHOMA CITY — Bullets and beer could soon become a reality at a gun range in Oklahoma City. As long as the bullets come before the beer, that is.
The Oklahoma City city council approved a liquor license on Tuesday for the Wilshire Gun Range, a planned 40,000-square-foot establishment that will include 24 firearm lanes, 10 archery lanes and a cafe where food and alcohol can be served.
Co-owner Jeff Swanson said the gun range will be the first in the state where people can shoot and enjoy libations — and do it safely.
"Any misconceptions or joking aside, beer and bullets, guns and alcohol, they do not mix," Swanson told TV station KOKH.
People must shoot first, and then drink, Swanson said.
To ensure that, customers' driver's licenses will be scanned before he or she operates a lane or orders food, alcohol or merchandise.
"Once your order a drink your driver's license is scanned and you are red-flagged and you're not allowed into any of the shooting facilities, either as a spectator and certainly not as a shooter for the remainder of the day," Swanson said. Staff will also be trained in field sobriety and use cameras to monitor customers.
But Capt. Brent Fairchild with the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, an agency that polices liquor establishments, is skeptical.
"I guess you could go back to the old adage where there's a will there's a way, so no matter how many safeguards you do put in place there's always someone who's going to try to get around those," Fairchild said.
The gun range's owners must still apply for a license from the alcohol commission.
This isn't the first time such an establishment has been proposed. An alcohol permit was approved in 2012 for The Governor's Club in Powder Springs, Georgia. The facility includes an indoor shooting range, a full-service gunsmith and a members lounge. Earlier this year, a combination shooting range and saloon was proposed in the old Wild West town of Deadwood, South Dakota. FBI agent Greg Vecchi said The Deadwood Guns complex, which is expected to open by next month, will encompass all the things he likes: alcohol, tobacco and firearms.
The city commission approved the business to allow alcohol sales and indoor shooting. The saloon will have to abide by a state law that prohibits holders of concealed carry permits from bringing weapons into establishments that get more than 50 percent of their income from alcohol sales.