The following rules are taken from pages 8-9 of the “OFFICIAL RULES of the Charlotte Rifle and Pistol Club,” as revised January 1, 2017 or “Rules”“ARTICLE III, § 3.1 (23) Warning Lights and Other Precautionary Measures:
- The warning lights, whistles and horn systems on the Multipurpose, Rifle, Sight-in, Pistol and Plinking Ranges are intended to provide a clear, immediate signal that the Range has gone “Cold” and that shooting and firearm handling are prohibited.
- The line must be made “Cold” prior to going downrange at the Multipurpose, Rifle, Sight-in, Pistol, Plinking, or Shotgun Ranges.
- On Ranges equipped with Warning Lights…
- When the firing lines at the Outdoor Range are deemed “Hot” no member may take it upon himself to turn on the warning lights without first consulting those on the firing line as to the appropriate, agreeable time when it is safe to do so.
- Before proceeding downrange, each shooter must turn on the switch nearest his/her firing position (even if the warning lights are already on).
- Warning lights are to remain off when shooters are firing from the conventional firing line.
- The warning lights must remain on when anyone is forward of the conventional firing line. This applies to Ranges where shooting may take place forward of the “normal” specified firing line.
- Everyone on the firing line is responsible for and must take all necessary precautions to ensure that all have safely returned from downrange before the line is made “Hot”. This includes knowing that no one is in the Target House on the 300 yard Rifle line or remains inside a Skeet or Trap house.”
Questions, Misconceptions & Common Mistakes
(Q) Can I handle ammunition and magazines while the range is “Cold?”
(A) Well, the answer is different depending on whether you are at the (1) Outdoor Ranges or (2) Indoor Range: (1) While the Rules pertaining to the Multipurpose, Rifle, Sight-in, Outdoor Pistol and Plinking Ranges only specifically prohibit the handling of firearms, you may reload magazines AS LONG AS no one downrange could reasonably confuse any member’s actions at the firing line with that of handling a firearm. Remember, the reason for the rule is safety, which includes peace of mind for those downrange. (2) The Rules pertaining to the Indoor Range, ARTICLE II, § 3.9 (12) b, read: “…Do not handle any ammo or firearms whatsoever while the line is declared ‘safe.’ ” Therefore, once all members are behind the yellow line and the range is “safe,” you MAY NOT handle ammunition NOR magazines NOR firearms. It’s all about safety and peace of mind for those downrange.
(Q) If the warning lights are already on because members are shooting forward of the conventional firing line (at Ranges that allow this), and the Range must be made “Cold” before anyone can proceed downrange, how is this done?
(A) It is the responsibility of all members shooting at that Range to establish direct communication with each other whenever any member wishes to change shooting conditions (i.e. “Cold” to “Hot”, “Hot” to “Cold”, firing line distance-to-target, etc.). No member may proceed forward of the agreed-to firing line unless direct communication has been established, all firearms have been made safe, and OBI’s are visible in all firearms. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is a firearm to be handled behind another member. Again, the reason for the rule is safety, which includes peace of mind for those in front. They have no way of knowing whether the gun is loaded or not.
(Q) Why can’t I just turn on the warning lights when I am ready to go downrange? Isn’t that enough warning for everyone?
(A) The reason for this is part courtesy and part safety: (1) By consulting others on the firing line, they are given a heads-up of your intent to make the Range “Cold.” (2) Hearing protection, glare from the sun, or focusing intently on their own shooting, can all cause another member to not be aware of the warning light and/or horn. (3) The abrupt, without-warning horn can cause another member to miss their “perfectly lined-up shot.” (4) Once the warning lights are on, no one may handle their firearm…any member that was preparing to pack up and leave, now has to wait until the lights are turned off before putting their firearm away.
(Q) Why do I have to turn on (enable) the light switch closest to my shooting station if the warning lights are already on?
(A) While doing so might seem redundant, enabling your own light switch is for your protection. Even though courtesy suggests that each shooter check with or advise the other members shooting that they are ready to make the Range “Hot,” this is not always done. And even if this courtesy is followed, members still downrange might not be made aware. If only the member(s) originally enabling their light switch disable their switch, the warning lights will turn off, potentially with members still downrange. Always being aware of the other members shooting near you or at the same Range, provides an extra layer of protection if, for example, someone has not enabled their switch. When you disable your switch and see that the warning lights turn off, you should be suspicious if there are benches near you that contain firearms, but no shooters. Once again, the reason for the rule is safety, which includes peace of mind for those downrange.