To be on a tour Terry Schmidt gives at his new Scottsdale Gun Club is like watching a proud father show off his newborn. The owner of the north Scottsdale facility is quick to point out the bells and whistles that he and others involved in the project have made sure are part of the 30,000-square-foot building.
But there’s something more important than bells and whistles to Schmidt.
"Our biggest focus is education and safety," Schmidt said. "We believe we can help eliminate accidents and deaths with guns by teaching people how they are used and the right way to treat them. That is our main reason for being here.
"Anything we do with safety is free, from the teaching to giving people a free safety lock for their guns if they need one. We want them to be well-informed. The key is teaching responsible gun ownership and education."
The $8.2 million club — the brainchild of Schmidt and fellow Scottsdale residents Nadine Little, Mark Hanish and Matt Golden — is a full-service facility for law enforcement and military members and private citizens. Schmidt said that while the club teaches National Rifle Association school and child safety programs, and has some members in it, it is not endorsed by the group.
The club has 32 shooting ranges, classrooms and a gunsmith shop. Myriad firearms, from handguns to military assault weapons, and peripherals are on sale.
The club, which will host its grand opening today, allows nonmembers to use its shooting range for $15 an hour.
Instructors also teach how to use guns and weapon safety, and offer classes in general home safety and selfdefense. There’s a two-story tactical shoot house, used for training of private citizens, law enforcement and military officials.
"The key whenever you talk about firearm safety and education is follow-through," he said. "We teach people how to make decisions, not just shoot a weapon."
Schmidt already has a slew of members and works closely with the Scottsdale Police Department.
"We want to support the city that has supported us," Schmidt said. "We intend to give back to our community."
Residents seem to have gotten plenty out of the club already.
"Nothing around here compares to this," said Larry Michael, who works for a firm that handles security and access for such facilities, before a round of rifle shooting. "Most facilities don’t have this type of place. It should attract tons of people."