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Gun range threatened with lawsuit over 'ladies only' nights

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A "Ladies Only" gun range event was canceled after a man threatened to sue the owner over discrimination. (iStock/Getty Images Plus)

A gun range in Riverside, California, held its last "Ladies Day," which allowed women to shoot at the range for free, on Thursday after receiving a threat of a potential lawsuit.

Behind the legal threat

According to a Facebook post by the NRA Members' Councils of California, Riverside Magnum Range received a letter from an Orange County man who felt his civil rights were violated.

"Promotions such as those mentioned above constitute civil rights violations under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and entitle the individual subject to discrimination to statutory damages in the amount of $4,000.00 per violation, in addition to costs and attorneys' fees should litigation be commenced," the letter's author, Gregory Rolando, wrote.

Rolando was upset about the "ladies only" event because he had to pay the normal $15 range fee when he attended during one of the events. Men have always been allowed to attend the event but have been required to pay the fee, KCBS-TV reported.

Peter Lee, the range's owner, began "Ladies Night" a few years ago to encourage women to shoot and prevent accidental shootings.

“If the woman come here, they might know more chance to handle the gun safely,” Lee told KCBS.

Shooters' reactions

Makayla Gouvea, a 17-year-old who frequents the "Ladies Night" says she's upset about the lawsuit and doesn't understand why Rolando can't pay to utilize the range.

"He could come pay for it [range use], I don't understand why he would cut off other people," Gouvea said.

Gouvea's father, Jason, is also upset by the move.

"Maybe this guy doesn't have a mother or a sister or a daughter. I don't know," Jason Gouvea told KCBS.

The hypocrisy

The gun industry and gun enthusiasts alike are always looking at new ways to bring in new shooters. Because women are the fastest growing segment of gun owners in the nation, it makes sense that Lee decided to offer a "Ladies Night" at the range. He's tailoring his business to his customers' growing needs.

What's next? Are we now going to see lawsuits against concealed carry courses designed for women? This type of lawsuit is a slippery slope that's bound to hurt businesses and consumers alike.

I grew up in the Riverside area and frequently visited Riverside Magnum Range with my dad. In fact, Magnum was where I first learned how to shoot. This is one of the few gun ranges I've been to that treat female shooters with respect. I was always greeted with a smile, handshake and a warm welcome. Targeting them for encouraging women to get involved in firearms is counterintuitive to what the Second Amendment community is all about.

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