Home on the Range
Even in America’s least gun-friendly city, a small but steadfast group of New Yorkers insist on staying locked and loaded.
The only public shooting range in Manhattan is tucked away in the basement of a commercial building at 20 West 20th Street. After passing through the lobby and descending a winding staircase, I came to a long corridor whose green walls are adorned with framed newspaper clippings, photos and painted-on golden bullets pointing the way. The muffled blasts of gunfire grew louder as I got closer.
Inside, the long rectangular room had a utilitarian array of chairs, tables, sofas, TVs, lockers and notices on the walls—
“Wear Eye and Ear Protection,”
“NRA Gun Safety Rules.”
The firing range’s fourteen shooting stalls run the length of the room, sealed off by a wall with large windows.
I visited the Westside Rifle & Pistol Range because I was intrigued that such a place could exist in one of the least gun-friendly cities in the country. I was curious about the rare breed of New Yorker who is licensed to own a gun.