With more than 100 people in attendance, Governor’s Gun Club, a planned gun and archery range, broke ground two weeks ago on the outskirts of Powder Springs at C.H. James Parkway at Sterlingbrooke Drive. Another gun club planned in Kennesaw reportedly remains in early planning stages.
Kristina Brown, who owns Lakeside Guns in Acworth, said her new $3.5 million, 19,100-square-foot gun club in Powder Springs is currently awaiting a state land disturbance permit. Once that is granted, construction will begin immediately and could be completed as early as Christmas, she said.
Brown said about 50 people have signed up for membership, which will begin at approximately $400 per year.
Governor’s Gun Club will feature 16 shooting lanes, a 30-yard indoor archery range, a classroom and an executive members lounge with billards, lockers, televisions and other amenities. The club will also be open to non-members.
Brown said she is also exploring opening a second gun club in the Kennesaw area.
Kennesaw has already been selected as the potential site for a gun club and shooting range by Cara Workman and Robyn Workman Marzullo, who operate the Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range. Since last year, the sisters have been planning to build a facility on Kennesaw Due West Road near Cobb Parkway.
However, the planning process has fallen into limbo, said spokeswoman Mandy Nicholas. She said the project has run into some zoning issues with the city and also that the sisters have spent much of their attention on opening a second business in Norcross.
Meanwhile, Cobb has experienced a surge in concealed weapons permit applications since the shooting rampage in Aurora, Colo. on July 20, which killed 12 people and wounded 58.
“We’ve noticed the surge from when we were doing 25 a day and we’re doing like 50 a day now since the shooting,” said Melinda Carter, supervisor of Cobb Probate Court’s firearms permit division.
Gun permits and sales have also reportedly spiked in other areas of the nation, including Colorado, where gun sale background checks increased by 41 percent after the tragedy, according to the Denver Post. The shooting has raised concerns from gun safety advocates about a need for new gun control laws, but the nation’s political leaders have been largely quiet on the issue.
Even before the Colorado shooting, a nationwide spike in gun sales had been reported. Industry experts and political analysts have noted that a similar spike occurred just before President Barack Obama took office, when some firearm buyers expressed fears that their gun rights would be curtailed.
Additonally, House Bill 89 took effect in July 2008, which expanded places where permit-holders can carry concealed weapons, to include restaurants that serve alcohol, on public transportation and in state parks.
Since 2008, permit applications in Cobb have increased annually from between 2,500 and 3,000 to between 5,000 and 8,000, said Carter.
In Georgia, adults age 21 or older do not need a license to own a gun, unless it is a concealed weapon carried outside one’s home, automobile or place of business, subject to certain restrictions.
In that case, a permit, or weapons carry license, is issued by a county probate court after proof of residency, fingerprinting, and state and federal criminal background checks have been successfully completed. A $72.25 application fee for the license, valid for five years, is required in Cobb.
There are four gun shows scheduled between now and January at the Cobb Civic Center, including two Eastman Gun Shows, which reported an overall record attendance at its traveling shows in 2011, according to its website.
Brown said she has noticed an increase in interest in guns from customers at her Acworth gun shop on Cobb Parkway, as well as a major increase in National Rifle Association membership.
“I just think more people are standing behind the Georgia carry (law) and Second Amendment – that’s what a lot of them are stating to me,” she said.