Hoping to capitalize on the growing number of gun owners, a Nebraska National Guard veteran and his wife plan to open what would be the only indoor gun range business within the city limits of Omaha.
Jacques and Tasha Clerc propose to open the business, called Inner 10 Weapons and Training, at 8910 Military Road, in northwest Omaha.
They hope to begin construction this spring and to open by the end of the year, Jacques Clerc said.
Theirs would be the third indoor range open to the public in metropolitan Omaha and the second to open since last year.
The existing indoor ranges are The Bullet Hole, just across the Douglas-Sarpy County line in La Vista, and Take Aim, which opened in 2013 at 3403 Samson Way in Bellevue.
“Ours will be on the north side of town, separated from the other two,” Clerc said. “With the number of firearms that are now in the public's hands, and the number of people with conceal-carry permits who need a place to shoot safely, the demand is huge.”
The Omaha Planning Board is scheduled to consider the Clercs' request Wednesday for a conditional use permit.
Pelster Brothers Construction, which owns the property, would erect a building for the business and lease it to the Clercs.
Inner 10, which takes its name from a technical term for a bull's-eye, would install a mobile shooting range inside the new building.
The range would have three shooting lanes. Primarily designed for handguns, it also would be rated for pistol-caliber rifles, Clerc said.
In addition to the shooting range, the 3,900-square-foot building would house retail and office space.
The business would sell firearms and firearm accessories, and offer safety and other classes for “kids, parents, experienced shooters, all the way from entry level to experts,” Clerc said.
The Clercs particularly aim to serve female gun owners. They hope to host competitions.
Clerc works in management in the trucking business now, and his wife has experience in teaching and business. She's certified to teach in Nebraska but is not working as a teacher.
Jacques Clerc is a federally certified gun instructor, according to Planning Board documents.
He said he joined the Nebraska National Guard in 2005 and is in the reserves.
“It's great news for Omaha,” said Rod Moeller, president of the Nebraska Firearm Owners Association.
“The number of new shooters for handguns has really increased dramatically, year over year, especially women, a lot of moms who are concerned about protecting their homes.”
Douglas County Sheriff's Office records show a large increase over the past four years in the number of gun purchase permits issued countywide.
The Sheriff's Office issued 4,093 such permits in 2010. In 2012, it issued 6,871, with a spike after the Newtown school shooting and subsequent national gun control debate.
The Sheriff's Office issued 7,456 permits in 2013.
Moeller said metro Omaha could use another place for such people to learn how to shoot and to practice. He said a range that would allow instructors from outside the business to train gun owners there would be particularly popular.
“I've always said that the Omaha area could support three indoor ranges, but they need some geographic dispersion,” Moeller said.
The Clercs had hoped to open a range in a former Baker's Supermarket plaza near 132nd and Q Streets. But the land deal fell through. Clerc said it was because he wanted to open a shooting range there.
“So we went looking for a landowner that was for the use,” Clerc said.
They found one at 90th Street and Military Road, a commercial and retail area.
The closest neighbor would be Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2503. An active post that rents out its social hall, the VFW voted to remain neutral on the shooting range, said Doug Whitaker, the post commander.
“We trust that the city is not going to allow anybody to put up an unsafe building,” Whitaker said.
Some members expressed concern about potential noise and potential effects on the social hall business.
Whitaker said he respects members' views on both sides. Personally, he said, “I'm a lifetime NRA member, and I'm kind of looking forward to it. ... It's a good thing that we would have someone there who's going to have classrooms, certified instructors and will train people in the proper handling of weapons.”