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Cloquet shooting range stays open despite state order to close

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Dead On Arms, a shooting range in Cloquet, is in a legal fight with the state of Minnesota.

The range offers firearm safety classes and allows buyers to test out guns before they buy them.

"We need to be trained on how to use them and how to carry them. The public needs to be trained. That is exactly what this place is," said Chad Walsh, Owner of Dead On Arms.

Like most businesses during the pandemic, on April 8th, Dead on Arms was ordered to close by executive order 20-33.

"It actually said indoor shooting ranges, at which time we did close because that was the initial wave of COVID," said Walsh.

But after the most recent emergency order, Walsh decided it didn't apply to his business. So he stayed open.

"You need to figure out where you fit in here. You need to close down immediately. That's what we were told," said Walsh.

Walsh was sent a letter by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office on December 4th. The letter stated that he violated the state's order, as his business classifies as a sports facility.

Walsh said his shooting range isn't a sports facility, as shooting a gun can be deadly.

"There is a side to the firearms industry which is sporting, that would be sporting clays. We don't offer that here. This is a place for people to come and get proficient with their firearm and train to learn how to use it," said Walsh.

Walsh, with direction from an attorney, has since sent a letter of his own to the Attorney General's Office. It states in part quote, "Dead On Arms takes the position that use of the firing range is not prohibited by the Executive Order. If the order is amended to close indoor firing ranges, Dead On Arms will certainly comply."

Walsh said he is prepared to battle the state in court.

"We do have a constitutional right to bear arms and a right to lawfully use a firearm during these times," said Walsh.

We reached out to the attorney General's Office for reaction.

We did not hear back from them.

John Cardinale

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