NRA membership required of Glenwood Springs Gun Club members | AspenTimes.com

NRA membership required of Glenwood Springs Gun Club members

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

The Glenwood Springs Gun Club, a nonprofit organization that has had leased rights to the city's South Canyon shooting range since 1984, may drop a National Rifle Association membership requirement of its members, ahead of meeting with city officials this fall to revisit the lease terms.

According to a lease agreement signed by then-Glenwood Springs Mayor Carl L. Schiesser between the city and Glenwood Springs Gun Club Inc., "This lease shall be for a term of five (5) years commencing on April 1, 1984, and terminating on April 1, 1989. Lessee agrees to pay Lessor as rental for the leased premises an annual rent of $10."

Since then, little has changed in the lease agreement other than the occasional amendment.

In April 2013, representatives with the Glenwood Springs Gun Club agreed to a change in the lease terms to address concerns about alcohol use, as well as the then-newly legalized prospect of marijuana, within 200 feet of the gun range. Alcoholic beverages and marijuana products, and consumption thereof, were also strictly prohibited on site and before any shooting activities.

That agreement was amended just a month later to allow for consumption of 3.2 beer, as long as it's not in glass containers. South Canyon is designated by the city as parkland, and glass containers are prohibited in city parks.

According to current Glenwood Springs City Manager Debra Figueroa, "Yes, the city does have a lease with the gun club. The lease expires in 2021, and it is for $10 a year."

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Because the lease adheres to five-year renewal terms, the current lease between the city and the gun club, which began again in 2016, unless renewed again, will end Feb. 1, 2021.

Currently, though, in order to become a member of the Glenwood Springs Gun Club, one must also show proof of membership in the NRA.

"As far as the NRA membership requirement, yes, the club does currently require NRA membership to join," club President Ralph Delaney confirmed Thursday.

According to the Glenwood Springs Gun Club's secretary, the club currently has 121 members.

Delaney told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that this requirement was not intended to create an exclusive, NRA member-only gun club, but rather for insurance purposes, as the NRA insures the club.

Delaney also stated that although a member must check out a key to use the range, the club does not require NRA membership from a member's guest or guests, as long as the member accompanies them and claims responsibility for them.

The Glenwood Springs Gun Club also hosts weekly events which, although hosted by NRA members, does not require NRA membership to participate.

Various law enforcement agencies, including the Glenwood Springs Police Department, also utilize the facility, according to Delaney.

"I was surprised," Glenwood Springs City Councilman Jonathan Godes told the Post Independent upon finding out about the club's NRA requirement. "That there is city-owned land that is leased to an organization that is able to discriminate based on your political affiliation."

"We need to have a comprehensive plan for that whole South Canyon," Godes said. "Having a gun range is fine, because it's a historical use, and it's been around for a while now, and it seems like a fine place to do it. But what are we doing to make sure that it is safe, but at the same time accessible to all the citizens who would want to use it?

"It is public land, and if we have an entity that is being exclusionary toward people who don't want to be in a political organization, that feels un-American to me," Godes added.

The city provided a statement to the Post Independent, saying, "The city rents the gun club area in South Canyon to a private entity. The city's lease requires liability insurance naming the city as additionally insured with coverage not less than $1 million per occurrence. There are no requirements in the lease concerning membership. The lease ends in 2021 and will be evaluated at that time."

Furthermore, according to the city's statement, "It is our understanding that the gun club is currently reconsidering its membership requirements that have previously included NRA membership."

City Manager Figueroa added, "We plan to meet with the gun club this fall to determine ways to improve safety going forward."

According to membership.nra.org, it costs $45 to join the NRA for one year; $75 for two years; $100 for three years; or $150 for five years.

After selecting a membership option, one may select a "thank-you gift" from the NRA in the form of an NRA digital camp duffel bag, an NRA rosewood handle pocket knife, an NRA black and gold duffel bag or an NRA black and gold shooter's cap. Additionally, a member can subscribe to one of several magazines, including American Rifleman, American Hunter, America's 1st Freedom or Shooting Illustrated.

mabennett@postindependent.com