Guns and booze: Oklahoma gun range gets green light to serve liquor

Peanut butter and pickles. Ice cream and hot sauce. Country music and all-night raves.

Some things in life just don’t seem to go together all that well. And for many people, alcohol and shooting is pretty high on that list

But while mixing alcohol and firearms sounds like recipe for disaster, one shooting range in Oklahoma City believes it has figured out the right way to make it work.

The Wilshire Gun range won approval from Oklahoma City Council on May 27 to obtain a liquor license – meaning they’ll be able to serve libations like any other licensed establishment.

But before you get visions of walking onto the range with a beer in one hand and your Glock in the other, the owners of the range say they’re going out of their way to ensure a safe environment.

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“There’s a restaurant inside the gun range that’s roughly 3000 square feet, and the range itself is 20,000 square feet,” Larry McAlister, media spokesperson for the Wilshire Gun range, told Global News.

“Alcohol will only be served inside that 3000 square feet.”

As well, the range will implement a security system to prevent those who have imbibed from being able to enter the firing range portion of the facility.

Once you order a an alcoholic beverage, your driver’s license is scanned and you are “flagged” in their system. You’ll need to scan your license to enter the shooting range as well – and if you’ve ordered a drink in the past 24 hours, you won’t be permitted to enter.

“It doesn’t matter if you came to lunch, had a beer, went back to work, than came back later that evening,” McAlister said. “You won’t be allowed to shoot.”

A concept art rendering of the Wilshire Gun range in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In making their case for obtaining a liquor license, the Wilshire Gun range put forth an interesting argument: because Oklahoma is a concealed carry state, you’re are legally allowed to carry a concealed handgun into any licensed establishment or restaurant.

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Their safeguards, the range argues, actually makes Wilshire Gun a safer establishment than your average restaurant, where patrons can carry their weapons and drink without any unusual restrictions.

Of course, you don’t usually go targeting shooting at your average Denny’s. On the other hand, there’s nothing to prevent you having a drink or two and then heading to a “normal” gun range either – except the discretion of the range master, of course.

McAlister said the decision to obtain a liquor license goes beyond the simple “shootin’ and drinkin'” kind of appeal.

“[The range] is already booking corporate events, and for catering purposes they needed to obtain a liquor license,” McAlister said. “Some of those events will involve shooting, but some will not.”

In fact, the operators see the restaurant portion of the range operating independently of the larger range itself.

“The [Wilshire Gun] range is located along a corridor with lots of restaurants. We’ve got a wood fire grill, a simple menu – just like the clubhouse at a golf course.”
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“Not everyone who comes to the clubhouse is there to play golf. Sometimes you’re there to have dinner, have a meeting, or meet up with friends.”

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