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NYC – TRAINING – 19 Pictures From Inside New York City’s Underground Gun Club

I went into this project looking to explore the withstanding subculture at the range. I’m fascinated in a community that engages in a hobby fastidiously, in stark contrast to the conversation that exists outside the range. One thing I felt strongly about is to not misrepresent or demonize the people who are coming here. These people are taking extraneous steps to safely exercise a legal hobby in a very regulated environment. Owner Darren Leung describes Westside as a “real melting pot” of New York. In my two months of visiting and photographing at the range, I met an extremely wide variety of people. Doctors, nurses, dentists, day traders, school administrators, teachers, law enforcement, security and armored truck drivers, salespeople, and business and finance workers. I met people living in all five boroughs who were members. Some of them have been members for decades — others are very new. The vast majority of the people I spent time with were born and raised New Yorkers. To me, this place was more fascinating as somewhere that people congregate, rather than the activity on which it is built upon. Gun culture is the catalyst that brings these people together, but the range acts as a social club. There are many people who come here just to hang out. The open hours are long, and the coffee and treats are bottomless. This place feels more like a family than a gun range. Westside is emphatic that it is not only a range, but also an education center. New York City gun laws are some of the most strict in the country, so extensive training is required to carry a gun on or off the job in the city.  [full article]

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