Arizona’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility Misused as Backdrop for Anti-Gun News Media

Arizona’s Ben Avery Shooting Facility Misused as Backdrop for Anti-Gun News Media

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Arizona Game and Fish Department

PHOENIX, AZ – -( Shooting sports enthusiasts, on the early show April 12, 2011, KNXV-15 television showed a report on the pending hearings in Congress on extended capacity magazines for handguns.

They used a backdrop of our Ben Avery Shooting Facility entrance sign for their video reporter’s standup. Attached is a letter from us to Channel 15 regarding that story.

From my standpoint and important for you to know:

  • Ben Avery Shooting Facility is the place where legal recreational shooting and archery takes place with families, youngsters in Hunter Education, Olympic hopefuls practice and compete, and a host of shooting disciplines enjoy safe, responsible use of firearms.
  • Law enforcement officers practice and qualify with pistols, rifles and shotguns…nearly every day of the week, with most all local, state and federal agencies participating.
  • Ben Avery is a “Phoenix Point of Pride”. There are only 31 “Points” in the valley.
  • The tragedy in Tucson should in no way be linked to our range nor to the legal, responsible use of firearms.
  • Rather than chastise, our approach to Channel 15’s managing editor was to inform and offer another viewpoint for them to consider.
  • We invited them to come and see what Ben Avery Shooting Facility is about as well as gave them the dates of next year’s Outdoor Expo on which they will hopefully do one or more stories.

As issues like these arise in the future, I have directed staff to respond in a professional, courteous manner to correct misinformation and offer “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey was famous for doing. In that light, I wanted you to know.

Larry D. Voyles


April 12, 2011

Andy Ramirez, Managing Editor
515 N. 44th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008

Dear Andy:

I watched the news story that ran on Channel 15 this morning by Hatzel Vela on the hearings in our nation’s capital on extended capacity magazines for handguns. I was appalled that your producers chose the backdrop of our Ben Avery Shooting Facility entrance sign to discuss the issue of a mentally unstable person’s actions in Tucson in January. This was an act of violence and in the opinion of many…terrorism. The media has a responsibility to help the public understand the difference between responsible firearms owners and not confuse that with those in society that misuse firearms, or any other device turned into a weapon, to the detriment of society. The difference between the two is not even comparable, yet your piece invited viewers to make that connection. How is that balanced and objective?

Ben Avery is a Game and Fish Department-owned shooting range where shotgun, pistol, rifle and archery enthusiasts can pursue SAFE, responsible shooting activities. It is also the place that hundreds of youngsters each year get safety training and hunter education, learn the responsibilities of owning and using firearms, and the ethics of hunting. The City of Phoenix has awarded Ben Avery as one of Phoenix’s Points of Pride, a recognition of special parks, cultural facilities, historic residences and mountain peaks, that contribute to the quality of life in the Valley and foster a sense of community pride.

Law enforcement from most of the Valley police departments, DPS and other state agencies (including Arizona Game and Fish Rangers) and most of the federal law enforcement agencies use the facility to practice and qualify with their issued firearms. Their job is to be proficient and able to bring their weapons into use if needed, and Ben Avery serves a critical role in ensuring they are better prepared to protect you and me, or themselves from “the bad guys!”

Lastly, why not choose to do a more progressive, positive story on shooting, like our Outdoor Expo event in March where 42,000 people visited Ben Avery in three days to see and experience responsible shooting sports? More than 50,000 rounds were fired safely, many by first-time shooters. We would like to invite Channel 15 to come out and participate in next year’s Outdoor Expo and report on what responsible, ethical, and SAFE shooting is all about. That date is March 31 & April 1, 2012. An invitation is extended for anytime you would like to do a story on what is available at Ben Avery or any of the other six shooting ranges the Commission owns.

If you would like to discuss this issue, please call me directly at (623) 236-7226.


Jim Paxon
Information Branch Chief