DEADWOOD — Evidently, bullets and beer do go together, at least at one Deadwood shooting range with a saloon inside.
The Deadwood City Commission moved forward with drawing up stipulations to accompany an ordinance variance requested by local businessman Greg Vecchi to allow firearm discharge in the city limits, specifically in a proposed indoor shooting range/retail complex, including a saloon, to be located in the Gallows building on Lee Street.
The overall name of the complex will be called Deadwood Guns, with Deadwood Jake's Guns featuring new, retail merchandise; Second Chance Pawn featuring used and consigned merchandise; the Deadwood Range, a gun and multi-use range; one other retail section; the Bullets and Beer Saloon; and the Deadwood Gun Show to be held four times a year, the first show to be held March 8-9 in the Martin Mason ballroom.
The commission moved to consider approving the variance and have Deadwood legal counsel draw up a financial document required to be submitted by Vecchi each year that demonstrates no more than 50 percent of his income at the establishment, to be named Deadwood Guns, is derived from the sale of alcohol, and that he installs proper ventilation in the building to address lead exposure.
"I want it to be less than 5 percent," Vecchi said in reference to alcohol sales. "Sequence is important. Bullets first, beer second."
Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville asked Vecchi how the business will operate.
“I mean, ‘bullets and beer.’ Turbiville said. “The association between the two … how will you control people who may or may not be drinking?”
Vecchi explained that the beer area, or saloon, will be locked down and that anyone who uses the shooting range must blow a .000 on the Breathalyzer and be supervised by either Vecchi, who holds a Federal Firearms License, or one of his employees.
"I'm not going to put any of my licenses on the line," Vecchi said. "I'm not going to risk my reputation or my licenses. We have to run a tight ship, here."
Vecchi explained that the plan right now at the Gallows is to expand out into the entire 7,500 square feet of space and divide it into various income streams. One area would house retail and used items and provide access into the rest of the building, another involves an indoor gun range encased with ballistic rubber that is sound proof and made of a material that receives and holds the bullets until it is sent back to the manufacturer for lead mitigation.
“The other piece is a non-projectile range, for mainly archery and fast-draw,” Vecchi said. “There will also be a classroom area and a computerized TI training system area that will be fun, where people can shoot at everything from zombies to cowboys in an urban setting.”
A public hearing for a retail (on-off sale) malt beverage license and retail (on-off sale) wine license was held for Bullets and Beer Saloon, located at 12 Lee St., Dec. 2, 2013.
Vecchi is a United States Army veteran, has served as a hostage negotiator, federal agent and head of the FBI Academy’s behavioral science unit at Quantico, Va.
On Feb. 4, Vecchi will retire from the FBI. On Feb. 5, he will join the Deadwood Police Department as a part-time patrol officer at the rate of $18.78 per hour.
Last summer, the Deadwood City Commission unanimously passed one other variance allowing Vecchi to establish an outdoor gun range within city limits in a narrow canyon near Whistler’s Gulch Campground.
Vecchi is hoping to have his latest Deadwood business venture operational sometime in June and when the newly repurposed Gallows building opens, he envisions a place for the entire family to enjoy.
"I want this to be a place where mom, dad and the kids can have fun," Vecchi said. "A place where the whole family can enjoy the shooting sports."
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