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Gun group who wants to take over shooting range upset with Salt Lake City

A gun group says Salt Lake City leadership is denying the group the use of a gun range.

SALT LAKE CITY- The Mountain Dell Shooting and Archery group wants to take over the lease of the Hendriksen PMAA gun range near Parleys Canyon, but they say that plan is being stymied by “anti-gun” Salt Lake City leaders–something the city denies.

The city owns the land the shooting range is on, which has been used mostly by law enforcement over the past 50 years.

When the Salt Lake City Police Mutual Aid Association wanted out of their lease last year, Mountain Dell Shooting and Archery stepped in to take it over. But it hasn’t been easy.

“Then [the city] made some drastic restrictions on the range. They would only open it three days to the public, and they took down the range master’s website, and they wouldn’t let anyone shoot past 100 yards up the Valley,” said Mark Hays, who’s been helping negotiate with the city.

Hays thinks they’ve presented city leaders with perfectly good plans for taking over the site over the past few months, which have been turned down.

“The range has been run down, and they’ve done no lead remediation. So, you’ve got a group that wants to take it over and run it safely and environmentally friendly, and they don’t want to talk to us,” Hays said.

The group also believes it would be a bad idea to shut down the range entirely.

“Those 10,000 [people they get every year] are gonna go shoot somewhere, and it’s a lot better, especially during fire season, to not have them out on public lands,” Hays said.

But Matthew Rojas with Mayor Jackie Biscupski’s office says the city attorney does not believe the group has sufficient enough insurance in case of a large wildfire.

The city believes long shooting causes fires in the water shed area, while the land around it is being developed more and more.

Rojas says the lease transfer is still under review, but the city can’t enter into a contract on public lands without a pretty extensive, public procurement process.