MARION — If the vision of the owners of Tombstone Gun Range and Training Center comes true, Southern Illinois might become the destination for shooting sports enthusiasts.

David Kemp, founder and president, and Brian Chapman, founder and CEO, said the range and training center has more than 30 acres of land, and the owners have big plans for it.

Tombstone will have two handgun ranges, a 100-yard rifle range, a classroom facility with two, 40-person classrooms where students can go directly from class to the range, 3-D archery and skeet and trap for shotgun shooters.

Kemp said a permanent building is planned for the property that will house a clubhouse and pro shop.

The owners’ vision for the facility is to be unlike any other range in Illinois.

“This is going to be Disney World for shooters,” Chapman said. “Everything will be here.”

Kemp said the facility will have full-time employees, as well as subcontractors, such as professional archers teaching classes and National Sporting Clays Association instructors. The facility will also offer concealed carry classes for Florida and Utah permits. Illinois concealed carry permit classes are also planned once the General Assembly passes concealed carry legislation.

A police officer for 19 years and a firearms instructor for 10 years, Kemp said the big question he is always asked by shooting sports enthusiasts is where to shoot in Southern Illinois. With the caliber of instructors the center will have, and the likelihood of a need for a number of concealed carry classes, the owners can see the facility becoming a destination statewide and regionally for shooters. Their hope is to draw shooters for a weekend of classes, competition, range time and shopping and entertainment in Marion.

Early interest in the facility has been off the charts, Chapman said.

Chapman served as a police officer for 11 years before entering the business world before becoming involved in local and national businesses.

“This is going to be top notch,” Chapman said. “I’ve never been around a business with this kind of energy.”

Just four weeks into issuing memberships, Tombstone had 155 people sign up. The owners plan to take 300 members initially.

Kemp said although the business is membership-based and will not open to the public immediately, there could come a day where there is a day rate for the occasional shooter.

Kemp, who has serves on police SWAT teams, said although the facility will have everything the experienced shooter could ever need, Tombstone will focus on being an inviting range for novice, women and youth shooters.

Chapman and Kemp said with the current crime environment, women have shown a large interest in learning to shoot.

The first class Tombstone will offer will be a basic women’s class June 1. Kemp said the classes will introduce participants to fire-arms, how to get comfortable using a gun so that if something were to happen a person could focus on how to get out of the dangerous situation and not how to work the gun.

A Florida and Utah concealed carry class will be June 8. Chapman said classes are filling quickly, there are already 100 people on the waiting list, but interested students can register on the center’s website.

stephen.rickerl@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

(3) comments

KaijaJean
KaijaJean

A indoor pistol range would be great!

singlemalt
singlemalt

This will be a valuable resource and I wish the owners much success.

useurnoggin
useurnoggin

I think this is great! People on both sides of the gun "issue" can and should benefit from understanding and learning how to safely use firearms.

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