Virtual gun range opens in Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new gun range is open for business along Emerson Street, but it's not the kind you might imagine.

In fact, there is no ammo to fire. Instead it's a virtual firing range, like a video game but more realistic.

Those at the range teacher shooters all the fundamentals of shooting without the intimidation of firing a real gun.

"Well, we really don't want you accidentally shooting anyone, especially yourself," said Barry Chambers, owner of Aiming Point Firearms Academy.

Chambers said times have changed from when he grew up, and people fear for their safety. That's why the virtual firing range makes for a perfect introduction and teaching tool.

Chambers said military and law enforcement developed and use this software. It helps teach shooting fundamentals and can create virtual scenarios to teach users what to do in life or death situations.

The price is $30 for half an hour or $45 for an hour. It's more if you want to work with a National Rifle Association certified instructor.

"If you walk up on a firearm, you should be able to know if that firearm is loaded or not and how to make it safe," Chambers said.

Dawn Garvin, who had never fired a gun before, decided to go to the academy to learn how to protect herself. She said eventually she'll get a gun.

"But I need to get a little more practice and a little more accurate with things first," Garvin said.

Daniel Greenberg is practically a pro at shooting. He practices mostly for protection but also for sport.

Greenburg said it's important that people learn how to shoot properly before owning a gun.

"The same thing as a car: You don't want to put someone untrained behind a 2-ton moving hunk of steel; you don't want to put someone untrained behind a weapon that could kill someone," Greenburg said.

As far as the people who think the right to bear arms is a bad thing, Greenburg and Chambers say this:

"It's a repeatable phrase, but if you outlaw guns, then only outlaws have guns," Greenburg said. "You want to be better armed than the people who want to do you harm."

"Appreciate the fact that bad guys are always going to have guns," Chambers said. "So if you take all the guns away from the good guys, guess what, the bad guys will still have guns."

Aiming Point Firearms Academy will hold its grand opening May 10.

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