Ending gun rentals


Because of a spate of suicides at their ranges involving rental guns, Shoot Straight, Florida’s largest gun shop chain, has stopped renting guns to their customers.

While no one tracks suicides, a recent story in the Orlando Sentinel indicates there have been BlackRibboneight gun-range suicides since 2009 just in the Orlando area.

It’s not difficult to understand Shoot Straight’s decision, which is obviously immune from criticism.

The horror of a self-inflicted death in their range is a life-altering event for range staff, customers, First Responders – everyone involved.

I think it’s a public service for a gun range to rent firearms to its customers, especially when the rental guns they offer are the most popular makes and models.

I would hate to see the practice halted statewide, but I agree there are some safeguards that could be added to make it more difficult an option for those seeking self harm.

When I posted the story Monday on my Facebook site, several readers offered suggestions for ranges that still rent guns to their customers.

The first one is simple: talk to the customer. Simple questions about their firearms training and experience could be telling.

Other readers suggested requiring a Concealed Carry License for all firearms rentals, or providing individualized coaching.

I hope the practice continues, but I would stop well short of criticizing any range that decides that gun rentals are no longer an option.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Of course this is how many ranges augment their income. It certainly CAN be a policy for a range to have CCW rentals only, but let’s please stay away from legislation. We certainly don’t want to create any additional disincentives for potential new gun owners. Many folks also use the rentals to make purchase decisions, with many ranges waiving the fees if they purchase a firearm.

  2. The problem with making someone have a CCW prior to renting a gun is you exclude many potential gun owners who are renting a gun in order to chose a first gun to purchase. While I support a business’s right to impose rules on their own property, I would discourage elimination of gun rentals, as that would be a disservice to the shooting community as a whole.

  3. Pingback: Disturbing trend - TriggerActionTriggerAction

Leave A Reply