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Council votes to amend, extend gun club lease

The city council voted unanimously this week to extend the lease for the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club, subject to certain changes in the lease terms.

Brok Armantrout, revenue, contracts and real estate manager in the city’s Finance Department introduced the issue.

“The city has had a lease with the Rifle and Pistol Club since 1961 and throughout all those years, the city has taken efforts to renew the agreement and enjoy a relationship that we have with them,” he said.

The club is currently working under a 10-year lease extension that was exercised in 2021. According to staff reports and Armantrout at the meeting, at the time of the last renewal, there were some issues that the club wanted changed and the city was not ready, at that time, to make the changes. Negotiations have been ongoing and, according to Armantrout, the negotiated changes are all things that both the city and the club can live with.

Many of the changes appear to stem from issues last year when there was a shakeup in club leadership. Allegations were made of financial impropriety and it came out that most of the board members lived in Henderson and two were related by marriage.

Under the new terms, the majority of board members must be residents of Boulder City and none can be related within three degrees of one another. Also the club will have to provide an annual report including number of resident and non-resident members and annual revenue and obtain an independent audit at least every two years.

While the current lease already goes through 2031, the city agreed to allow another 10-year option, but only if the club can assign the lease to a qualified 501-C3 non-profit entity.

And, costs to members are going up. Part of the agreement with the city says that any increases in membership costs for Boulder City residents have to be approved by the city. Current costs for BC residents are $100 to join with an annual renewal charge of $75. Under the new agreement, the initial cost is $150 and the renewal is $100. Additionally, fees for using the range will go from the current $10 for two hours to $25 for two hours.

Board President Mike Pacini addressed the council and said, “We went through a transitional phase at the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club this last year with some issues, but out of that comes opportunity. A new board and an opportunity to work with all of you to make our club an even better partner with the city and with the residents and to take a look at ourselves in the mirror and to make ourselves better for the members.”

Pacini said that, historically, the club has not been easy to get into, even for BC residents, noting that he tried for six years to get in without success. “And I helped them get their last lease extension,” he said.

As a result of this issue, Pacini noted that the club had recently done a membership drive for Boulder City residents and reported that 263 residents of the city came out and joined the club. Current membership is 3,065 with 768 of those being residents.

Pacini said that, as part of trying to be a “better partner,” he was proposing that the club work with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to create a family firearms safety class.

“Now, there are some people out there for whom firearms is a no-no to talk about,” he said. “And I appreciate that, totally. I don’t ever shove anything down anyone’s throat. But I would like people to take a moment and think, if you have children, if you have grandchildren. At some point in their lives, they will be in a household that will probably have a firearm there. And I think it’s prudent of us to make sure that we have those conversations.”

Addressing some public comment at a previous meeting, Pacini added, “Some people have thought and said that the council was coming in to try and take over. And I want to say that this council has never been anything but supportive and appreciative of the resource that the Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club is to the city and to Southern Nevada.”

Both council member Cokie Booth and Steve Walton are members of the club and read the required disclosures. Matt Fox asked when the next membership drive would be, saying he had missed the last one and Pacini offered to have a drive for him and other council members and city staff, “on the spot.”

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