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March 16, 2018

Building Security From the Ground Up

By John Bocker, NSSF Security Consultant Team Member

When Mark Glavin decided to switch careers and pursue his vision of opening a female-friendly firearms range in Elgin, Illinois, he knew deep down that there would be many hurdles along the way. But Glavin is no stranger to hard work or tackling obstacles. He knew from the start that he should enlist the help of attorneys, industry experts and his community to make his vision a reality. One of his first stops on his journey was with the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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Several years ago, Glavin was inspired by his wife to pursue opening a gun range after spending a weekend afternoon shooting together. She’d had a blast but did not think the range was particularly comfortable or inviting to women. Glavin started to do some research. He turned to NSSF’s informational study “Women Gun Owners” and found it supported his idea to build a female-friendly shooting facility. With that, the wheels for developing Fox Valley Shooting Range, an indoor shooting range with 16 lanes and a firearms retail store with aesthetics, features, firearms and accessories focused on women shooters, were set in motion.

It took nearly three years, but Glavin changed careers, joined the NSSF, hired a good attorney, planned his mission and started the long hunt for the right location. He was seeking both a convenient location with minimal, if any competition, as well as a structure that would safely support his endeavor, while providing adequate security for firearms overnight. The one challenge that constantly hung in the back of his mind was whether he would be successful in obtaining town council approval, barring any public disapproval that may surface during the process.

Almost a year had passed from the time Galvin identified an existing location in Elgin, Illinois, to the day, to his surprise, the Elgin Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved conditional use zoning, issuing a text amendment and a map amendment for using 20,000 square-feet in the selected strip mall for the Fox Valley Shooting Range. The approval came even though several people addressed the commission expressing concerns about the proposal, including the possibility of increased auto traffic, noise, pollution and the worries about the facility being close to a subdivision and a preschool.

Understanding the greatest community challenges — concerns of noise, safety against shooting accidents and stolen firearms resulting from burglaries — Glavin once again turned to the NSSF for help. There he found a wealth of information and expertise provided by the Range Member Services Committee, but more importantly the physical security planning that proved necessary in convincing the community and town council that he was serious about safety and security.

I was fortunate to work with Glavin and his design team in providing state-of-the-art materials, recommendations and industry best practices to create a highly vandal-resistant facility that the community would be content with. Included in the range’s safety measures were its wall structure, doors, locks, alarms, surveillance cameras, crash-resistant exterior barriers and a thermoplastic overlay for the windows. When completed and presented to the Elgin Chief of Police and the Town Zoning Committee, Glavin’s plan was praised for its completeness and equipment selections, but they still expressed one compelling concern.

Glavin’s facility has 17 preexisting plate-glass windows that provided character to the existing location. It was Glavin’s intention to maintain the all-glass appeal while building in the absolute best window security. To do so, he turned to NSSF Member Benefit Affinity Partner Window Film Depot and contracted with Jeff Franson (owner) and Ian Bannister (sales director) to provide a long-term solution. Several products were presented, but Glavin showed just how serious he was about his new baby and selected the DefenseLite glass protection system to install at the new range.

The convincing of the DefenseLite’s worthiness came with the demonstrations of sledgehammers, axes, spikes and explosives being tested on this product, with little to show for the stress. It even exceeded expectations when physically tested by the Elgin Chief of Police himself. Given a hammer and the sample glass pane protected with the patented DefenseLite product, the chief found it impossible to fracture the glass and make entry. The chief was so convinced of the store’s security with this product that, as the story goes, he “turned on a dime” to give his approval.

With Glavin’s security plan for Fox Valley Shooting Range applauded, he is now making preparations for a scheduled opening on June 1, 2018. The glass installation team has moved quickly, and more than 3,000 square feet of glass protected in less than a week. Glavin is particularly pleased with the work, because it’s virtually invisible and bonds over the existing glass, allowing the great look he first admired of the storefront to shine through.

Proper installation of the DefenseLite product creates air space between the product and the glass. This also provides building insulation, reducing HVAC costs and interior sound levels. All protective glass shields are UV-treated. Installation is fast, quiet, does not fog and does not void any warranties.

This product is designed to keep the bad guys out. Adding maximum external glass protection along with other prudent barriers also adds protection for firearms inside the store or range. It is much more effective than cameras or alarms that do not stop or delay an unauthorized entry attempt. It is also less expensive than most other forms of security, including roll-down interior metal grills and gates. Being virtually invisible, DefenseLite also maintains the curb appeal of the store, something bars and gates do not, and it gives security and police an unobstructed view into your building, definitely a plus.

Operation Secure Store
Learn more about NSSF and ATF’s joint initiative to help FFLs make well-informed security-related decisions to deter and prevent thefts.

NSSF’s Store Security Audit Team is standing by to assist you with any physical or operational security or safety issue you may have including design, planning, training and crisis management. NSSF also partners with a variety of security product vendors, such as Window Film Depot. Log in to the Members-only side of to discover more.

About the Author
John Bocker is an NSSF Security Consultant Team Member and the Managing Director at JB Group, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado. JB Group is a business security and strategy consulting organization specializing in ATF FFL compliance and protecting FFLs against unexpected losses resulting from burglary, robbery and internal control failures. For more information call 720-514-0609.


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