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San Francisco Gun Club Hopes New High-Tech Members Can Help Keep Range Open

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Pacific Rod & Gun Club

(photo credit: Pacific Rod & Gun Club)

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KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — A San Francisco gun club, one of the Bay Area’s oldest, is in danger of being shut down by the city. But there is hope however that the growing number of members—including many from the high-tech community who are just discovering the sport—will help keep the club open.

While the sound of shotgun blasts aren’t typically associated with San Francisco, it’s been a noise commonly heard at the Pacific Rod and Gun Club near Lake Merced for nearly 90 years.

“The club has been here since 1928. As we understand it, it’s the second oldest trap and skeet club in the country,” board member Michael Emery said.

Emery said their membership has actually been growing recently, with younger tech workers getting into the sport of shooting.

Chris Cheng, a former Google employee, quit his job to become a professional marksman.

“I remember a lot of my colleagues became interested in shooting because they wanted to have a physical, tactile experience as a compliment to their online, where they are working on computer all day long,” he said.

Cheng has become something of a gun evangelist, convincing people to give shooting a shot.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, the new landlord for the club, has threatened to terminate their lease at the end of the year. According to Emery it’s on grounds that the clays—the bright orange target disks—have polluted the environment.

“SFPUC is taking a very, very hard line on dealing with the pollution so they are dealing with the pollution in a manner, in my opinion, to get us out of here.”

William Caldwell, who’s been a member since the 1950s, said he, along with other older members, hope the club will attract enough new members to convince the city to keep the club open.

“The world is changing, you’ve either got to change with it or it’s going to go right on by you. I’d sure hate to see it come down to that,” he said.

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