Recent outbursts of gun violence have prompted many to consider new laws regulating the sale and use of firearms, as well as improvement of firearms education.
In May 2012, local Vance Ewing, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army, purchased a plot of land just north of Saint Robert Blvd., near the water tower in St. Robert, to do just that.
His vision: Bow and Barrel Sportsmen Center.
Ewing, who retired from the military in 2006, returned to the area from a training regiment in Afghanistan and told his wife "it was time to do something else with my life," namely starting a new business.
He and his wife mulled over several business ideas before concluding that the area, largely in part to its relation to the military and law enforcement, is ready for an indoor shooting range.
Earlier this week, the Missouri Department of Revenue revealed a total of more than 160,000 state citizens currently allowed to legally conceal and carry a loaded weapon, including 1,773 registered in Pulaski County. The nearest indoor shooting range, according to Ewing, is nearly 60 miles from the area.
"With our shooting community, this would be a great place to put an indoor shooting facility," Ewing said.
Facility plans include the construction of 10 lanes of firearms ranges and a gun shop, but also six indoor and six outdoor archery lanes.
However, because of the nature of the business, there are several requirements involved before the Bow and Barrel can be approved for a loan agreement. Because of community support and advice from local entrepreneurs, Ewing said a deal is imminent, but for now it's just a waiting game.
Both Vance and Tammy, Ewing's sister, have begun clearing the land of all foliage in the meantime.
Tammy – who had spent the last several years constructing bridges – upon hearing of Vance's business proposition, agreed to travel to Missouri from Arkansas and help her younger brother see his vision through.
"I thought it would be a cool adventure," Tammy said, "and now here I am, clearing property."
Both brother and sister come from a shooting background and are excited for the opportunity awaiting them, despite the failure of a past area shooting range.
"It's been tried in the past and just hasn't worked out, but I think we've done everything we need to do to become successful," Vance said.
In addition to the team's confidence, the duo have also received an outpouring of community support for the project.
"The community support for what we're doing has been phenomenal," Vance said. "We have a community of shooters that are going to support our business."
Page 2 of 2 - One local man who belongs to an area black powder gun club said "there is a real need" for an indoor range for both guns and archery.
At least 68 others have liked the business' start-up Facebook page and have wished the Ewings good fortune in their pursuance.
As word gets out, the Ewings hope to ultimately give back to the community by hosting firearms and archery competitions to support the local special olympics.
Tammy also mentioned a "Pistols in Stilettos" ladies-only night at the range as an idea to raise gun education awareness among women. Bow and Barrel will also offer training and conceal and carry classes.
"The training facility itself is going to support our law enforcement community," Vance said. "Our ability to offer the training" for both handguns and assault rifles includes "15,000 different training scenarios."
As soon as the business is approved for a loan, Vance said the construction process will take five months, which would target a summertime opening.
"Things are taking a little bit longer than what I thought," Vance said before adding his promise that the future range will not disappoint.