Tex hasn't been running it for perhaps a month or maybe longer. His sister has since been managing the place. Last Thursday the family voluntarily suspended operations. They say it will re-open. That is as much as I know.
GPGC was raided by the BATFE in april. for awhile, they had a short statement about it on their website.
i don't know what prompted the raid. (i'm not a fan of the ATF and their witch hunts...and the people i've dealt with at GPCG always seemed like upstanding citizens, but that's about all i know.)
from what i understand, the ATF seized all weapons and ammo during the raid. however, GPGC stayed open...just without selling or renting guns or ammo...and tex stopped running the club.
i was out there a couple of weeks ago for an IDPA match, and plans were underway for their annual steak cookout, so, it seemed that they had no plans to close at that point in time.
i guess something with the case changed.
str8_shooter_85, below is a link to a thread on another forum with directions to a state game land range near pittsburgh. it has a good number of pistol stations (10 and 25 or so yards). it is just square range stationary shooting (unlike GPGC, where you can draw and shoot, move and shoot, etc.), but it is a very nice range for what it is. (it's free and you can use your own ammo...in fact, you have to since they don't sell any...most of the time there is not even an RO there.)
I was shooting there when it was raided, it was quite an experience. I never thought I'd have a SWAT team member tell me to put down my weapon down and be able to go home afterward. There were more cops and feds than I'd ever seen before. I was rather curious about why the raid happened. If anyone has any info please share it.
Sorry I didn't get around to posting earlier, but it’s been a busy time in my household.
Now back to the juicy details, I arrived at the range at around 11, paid my six bucks to shoot for the rest of the day and headed off to one of the pistol ranges. I had been shooting for about an hour when I walked downrange to hang up another target. As I turned to go back to firing line, I noticed a large group of SUVs pull into the parking lot. But I didn't think anything of it, because I had seen a sign posted at the entrance mentioning a shoot scheduled for that afternoon. I just thought it was people arriving for that. I reloaded my ruger mkII and went back to shooting.
After about fifteen minutes, I hear a very authoritative voice behind me say, "Sir, I need you to stop firing and please set down your weapon". I assumed this was a range officer or someone else from the club. I set down the pistol and turned to see a member of the PA state police's swat team with an 870 pointed at me. I was a little shocked to say the least. He then informed me that I wasn't in any trouble, but that he needed me to leave the range immediately. I packed up my stuff as quickly as I could. He then told me to make sure I had no visible weapons and that he would escort me to my vehicle. As he walked me to my car I saw more feds than I've ever seen before. The ATF were clearly out in force, the seemed to be in the process of securing the main building and they were packing some serious firepower. I saw several agents with MP5s, ARs and a few shotguns added for extra flavor. I believe I saw some FBI there as well. I quickly and quietly put my stuff in my car and drove away slowly. I counted 6 pa state troopers at the entrance to the range as I left.
It seemed as though they knew exactly who they were looking for and luckily it wasn't me. I wasn't searched or even asked to identify myself. All in all the officer I dealt was courteous and professional, even for the brief time he had his shotgun pointed at me.
I stopped about a mile down the road and called my wife on my cell. I was a little shaken by the whole experience. Her first response was what had I done. Then after I explained that I wasn't in any trouble, she asked if I had gotten a refund.
Wow, I need to check the PA forum more often. The GPGC is my favorite range to shoot at in town and I haven't been there for a couple months (just bought a house and my free time has been really sapped). I was there since April though... it seemed pretty deserted, I paid by putting the envelope in the slot. Perhaps I used the range while it was closed? (If there was a sign, I didn't notice it).
Tex seems like a really cool guy, and I sure hope he isn't in in any legal hot water with the ATF (my thoughts towards which pretty well mirror those in the book Unintended Consequences).
:shocked: My wife and I spent a 3 day weekend at GPGC in early 2004. I was impressed with Tex and his family. They certainly werent mercenary; even though I held out money to him for my wifes attendance and range fees, he refused to accept it! When Tex found out that Jo-Ellen would just be standing next to me most of the time he saw no reason for her to have to pay, and told me so.
Could have charged me the full price at lunch, too, but didnt. I only paid for the few food items I took. I dont know what happened; but, Tex didnt seem like a criminal to me. I remember thinking to myself, as we left the club late on that Sunday afternoon, how much I envied the Pittsburgh Glockers for having FIRE Institute and the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club in the area.
(Ain't nothing like the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club around here. I've heard rumors of a local super-duper new gun club starting up in the area; but, so far, nothing like what GPGC used to be has appeared!)
By the way, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city; all those bridges, the three rivers, and Mount Washington were quite impressive. (Ill bet you local guys take all that for granted, huh!) I really do hope Tex and his family arent in any serious trouble. That was a nice gun club, and very heavily used - too. Sure hope it turns out well for you Pittsburgh guys.
About 5 months have passed since my original post about the Greater Pittsburgh Gun Club being closed until further notice. Does anyone have any updates? Is this gun club EVER going to open back up? Possiblly under new management? This club had a great shooting layout and I miss the IDPA. I joined another gun club but it is just not the same!!:sad:
Hans, thanks for posting that! I was wondering how Tex made out? I had to laugh when I read the part about, 'some guy from Philadelphia who showed up with his wife and two dogs for the 2005 Glock Talk Shoot'.
(That would, of course, have been Jo and me; Deeter, our Dachshund; and Rosie, our Pit Bulldog. Even if he got the city wrong, it's nice to see that we made a lasting impression!) :supergrin:
That shoot was a really good time; we got to spend 3 days in the city, saw the sights, (Mount Washington!) and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.