City of Houston is trying to shutdown Top Gun Range

“Top Gun installed a state of the art ‘bullet trap’ at its range in 2009, after a fire the range led to upgrades of the facility. This bullet trap was installed as part of overall range construction. The new range was designed by ‘Action Target,’ a company that does business from its home office in Provo, Utah,” according to the complaint.

Since installing the rubber bullet trap, Top Gun says, Houston police have inspected its range every year and approved its application for a “Special Shooting Gallery Permit.”

“As is its custom, Top Gun, on October 31, 2013, once again submitted its application for approval of its Special Shooting Gallery Permit with the Houston Police Department,” the complaint states.

Top Gun claims that two weeks later the city’s human resources department said the application had been routed to it by mistake, and it would send it to the police department.

Officer Jeff Roeder inspected Top Gun’s range on Dec. 26, then followed up with an email on New Year’s Eve, stating he would not issue Top Gun a permit because the range was out of compliance with city law, Top Gun says in the complaint.

via Courthouse News Service.

That the city government is anti-gun and has zero respect for the 2nd Amendment should be news to no one. It is, after all, awash in liberal Democrats who have never met an anti-gun policy or law they didn’t like. It seems that fact now means a family owned business is fighting for its life. Top Gun is a range familiar to almost anyone who has spent much time looking for an indoor range in Houston. Back in the 1990s when Top Gun first opened, its original owner applied for and was granted a variance from the city’s “shooting gallery” ordinance because even then, the ordinance requirements were out of date and anything but safe. Unfortunately, neither the city, nor city council has ever had any interest in updating the ordinance because, at the end of the day, they don’t want gun ranges in the city.

In spite of all this, Top Gun ownership changed hands between 2005 and 2006 to its current ownership. Owner Maro Johnson was realizing a life-long dream of owning a gun shop and range. Top Gun’s management has dutifully applied for their “shooting gallery permit” each year without incident. But I guess now, with the mayor in her final term, her administration feels they can enact any policy they please because there’s no political penalty to be paid. Those policies range from ignoring state law to grant benefits to same-sex couples to shutting down a business involved in otherwise lawful activities that they don’t like.

This has far reaching implications as there is another range in the works not far from Top Gun. It could be that the other range’s application for a permit lead to Top Gun’s application being denied. I’d be curious to know if that other range’s permit was denied or not. If it was approved and the range is designed in accordance to city demands, it will be in direct violation of OSHA and EPA regulations. This could get interesting folks!


16 thoughts on “City of Houston is trying to shutdown Top Gun Range

  1. Top Gun Range is the finest, safest shooting range in the city. If the HPD does not grant their permit it is political., not because they don’t comply. Just because the mayor has to go to California to get married since it is illegal in Texas and she is a gay ant second amendment democrat would be the only reason.

  2. I was at top gun during the fire in july 2009. The way that their manager and owner treated me, and others who were there that night, was just awful. They absolutely suck as human beings. I’ve been waiting 4 years for this. PLEASE SHUT THIS PLACE DOWN ASAP.

    • David, I too was there that night as you’ll likely remember. And while on a personal level, I share your feelings, (as they blamed me and another shooter for causing the fire that night) this is about principle. If the city does this to Top Gun, they’ll do it to other ranges in the city limits and make it impossible to open another. As a community, we absolutely have to stand together against this sort of thing. Point of fact, the very backstop the city is demanding they install is a version of what was in place and actually led to the fire.


    • David must be a “lib-tard” because he had a bad experience the place should be shut down…well someone else might have had a good experience therefore nullifying your bad experience. Simply stop going there and tell everyone you know about your experience and let free market capitalism work you douche bag.

  3. Top Gun Range is doing a huge service to the public. They help educate the public on gun safety and feel confident I am abiding by all required laws by purchasing my firearms through them. This whole deal sounds like a bit “fishy” to me. I will be keeping a close eye on this as I don’t think this is fair.

  4. Pingback: Is the City of Houston shutting down the Top Gun shooting range? - blogHOUSTON

  5. I’m curious to know exactly what the reason for denying the permit was. The comments allude to a back stop but as the article makes no specific mention, I figured I’d ask for clarification. And before you go blaming “HPD” as if every officer knows everything going on in such a big department, or dragging the political shysters into the fray, this is more likely a case where either the inspecting officer is new to inspecting or has received new training regarding city code compliance since the last visit. A great many city officers go to the range and have since it opened up so I have no doubt they are in support of the range remaining open.

    • Steve, the reason the permit was denied as stated in Top Gun’s complaint, is that their backstop is not the type defined/required by city ordinance. No one has suggested that every officer knows or cares what’s going politically but, since city code dictates that the chief issue the permit, it would seem that it’s not likely to be a regular patrol officer with no training or direction to this specific issue doing the inspection or issuing permits under the chief’s authority and direction. To do so would be irresponsible. And it would seem the chief would be someone who might have some idea of the political desires of the mayor who appointed him so the political angle is not far fetched.

      On the other hand; if, as you suggest, this were a simple issue of a new or improperly trained officer, it surely should have been resolved by reasonable supervisors within the department and Top Gun’s management before it became a lawsuit. After all, the city does not have hundreds or even dozens of gun ranges within the city limits. There are less than a dozen, including the city’s own indoor and outdoor ranges at the police academy near the airport and HCC’s facility off the east loop, all of which had to have been inspected and approved by the city at some point. It would seem that someone would remember inspecting and approving of the construction of the backstop when Top Gun applied for its building permits in 2009 as well as all the intervening years until now in which a special shooting gallery permit has been issued. To have such a prominent facility suddenly fail inspection for the reason cited surely should have been seen it as unusual and worthy of further discussion.

      On your last point, We know that some city officers go to the range. No one said the department’s individual officers are in anyway trying to shut down the range or otherwise not supportive of the range. No one has questioned whether or not HPD’s officers support the range or the 2nd Amendment for that matter. In fact, whether they do or don’t is not relevant to the discussion here. What we do question however, is why the permit has been denied by citing city code that is out of date and being conveniently miss-interpreted as code clearly states the standards set forth by Section 5-118 regarding shooting galleries are merely a minimum standard rather than a literal requirement in a “special shooting gallery” such as Top Gun. We are also questioning the what appear to be sudden policy reversals that have only come about after the mayor’s final re-election and the beginning of a term in which there is no political price to pay for turning political screws to anyone she doesn’t like. But, if you feel the need to defend that, we’re more than happy to let you speak your mind.

  6. They do not care for the Public Safety at all, people were still shooting after the fire with no ventilation whatsoever. So if you shot after October of 2009 until April of 2010 you were exposed to all sorts hazardous contamination

    • Last we heard, the case was still making the rounds in court but, Top Gun is still in business and open to the public. We’ve had friends use that range as recently as last month. The company wouldn’t discuss anything with us directly and of course the city won’t comment either. What we understood of the situation could be best described as a urination contest that got out of hand but, as far as we know, Top Gun has prevailed.


  7. That lesbian mayor has alot to do with this. Remember that lesbian mayor wants to have sexual deviants/perverts going into the same public restrooms as your kids. ’nuff said !

  8. Well for what it’s worth. I walked in to TG about 8 months ago at an invitation to meet a friend. I walked in the front door and notice that the range entry was thru a door to the right. As I started to enter that door, a douche behind the counter yelled at me and went for his side arm ‘cowboy style’. He continued to yell that if I didn’t pay, I couldn’t enter. NEVER WILL I ENTER THAT DUMP, to give them a dime…Hot dogs..all of them. Memorial Shooting Center gets my money.

    • (1) I’ve been to Top Gun probably three dozen times and never seen or heard such a story. (2) You sound like someone who frequents gun ranges so you should already know to approach the counter to check in before trying to walk into the range. (3) For ranges who collect fees in advance, what you were trying to do could be considered theft and dangerous to other shooters. They don’t know what you have on you and what you’re trying to do. Again, you should have known to check in before entering (4) He likely reached for his firearm because the assumption at gun ranges is that everyone is armed and he didn’t know what your response would be.

      • I have to also +1 Paul here. I’ve been going to this place since I was a teenager (now 28) and they are always been pretty respectful. I used to host Germans to come and shoot here about 2 years ago for their first time and they couldn’t have been nicer to people who very clearly had zero shooting experience. Have to give it to TG.

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