Published Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 | 3:42 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009 | 5:34 p.m.
Politicians and a couple of hundred spectators gathered to dedicate the Clark County Shooting Park this morning.
Speakers at the dedication included Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign, Gov. Jim Gibbons, Rep. Shelly Berkley, County Manager Virginia Valentine and Clark County commissioners Tom Collins and Rory Reid. Sen. Reid brandished a family rifle, told of eating his mother's rabbit stew as a child and introduced NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
LaPierre praised Reid's voting record on gun rights.
The public facility will occupy 148 acres on a 2,900-acre park, with the non-shooting acres serving as a wildlife preserve and a buffer against development. The park cost $61 million, with money provided through the congressional Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. The county hopes the park will draw competitive shooters and serve as a training facility for law enforcement.
Ensign said the park could help with Las Vegas' 13.1 percent unemployment rate by attracting more tourists.
"When they talk about diversifying our economy, that's not only about bringing in different kinds of industry, it's also about different kinds of tourism," Ensign said.
County officials hope to open the first phase of the shooting park sometime in the next few months.