Maryland is not known for its great gun laws, at least as far as gun owners are concerned. With bans on so-called “assault weapons” and magazines, a “may-issue” system for concealed carry licenses that leaves the average citizen unable to carry a firearm for self-defense, gun rationing laws, and more, the state is pretty hostile when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. One couple in southern Maryland is hoping to change the culture, as well as helping to educate folks on how to be safe and responsible with a gun by opening up a new indoor range on their small farm.

The owners understand that their business is in the heart of a community that was once broken by a high school shooting.

But Steve and Cindi Thomas believe that their public indoor range is a needed, secure environment for the community to practice and learn about firearms.

“We have not had that [indoor] option for — it’s been at least 20 years that we have the ability to shoot anywhere indoors around here,” said Southern Maryland resident Bill Kitchens.

I’m excited for the folks in St. Mary’s County, Maryland and I don’t even live there. Much like the Thomas family, I live in a rural area where most gun owners have access to private property where they can shoot, which is great. However, some gun owners aren’t going to know anyone with enough property where they can go plink, and for the gun owners who live around Farmville, Virginia, the closest indoor range is about an hour away in either Lynchburg or Richmond. That was also the case for residents of St. Mary’s County before Flat Broke Shooters opened in August of this year. Since then, the Thomas’s say the support from the community has been strong.

Steve and Cindi Thomas say that they expected 20 percent of their business would come from families. But at nearly seven weeks in, they approximated families make up about 70 percent of their income.

“If there’s questions about firearms, if you’re hesitant about firearms, we want a place where you can come — where maybe you’re on the fence,” Cindi Thomas said. “This is meant to be a family-type environment where you can come in, try it out, see if you like it.”

The reporter from WJZ-TV in Baltimore notes that the range is about eight miles from Great Mills High School, where a student who stole his father’s handgun shot two students in 2018, killing one before turning the gun on himself. It’s pretty evident that the reporter was hoping to find some locals in the area who would criticize the new range as being “insensitive to the community” or something like that, but they struck out.

Great Mills High School principal Jake Heibel said that he has not received any negative feedback on Flat Broke Shooters Range and its proximity to the school.

“No students or parents have had complaints brought to me,” Heibel said. “It’s a little too far away.”

I’d like to think that distance doesn’t have as much to do with it as common sense, but whatever the reason, the new range seems to be enjoying popularity in the community. Congratulations to Steve and Cindi Thomas, and if you ever find yourself in southern Maryland on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, stop by Flat Broke Shooters for a little range time and to show your support for a couple trying to ensure that, despite the best efforts of anti-gun politicians in the state, those who want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms can do so safety and responsibly.