by Brian Heap
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
4:33 PM CST, December 27, 2011
A pair of December suicides at Wichita shooting ranges have one business looking for ways to prevent customers from harming themselves in the future.
Wichita Police said a man rented a gun Monday at Bullseye Shooting Range near 13th & Oliver and used it to take his own life. A similar suicide happened December 2nd at The Bullet Stop on W. Pawnee.
"There's nothing by law that they have to do that they are not complying with," said WPD Lt. Ken Landwehr. "Until you can read somebody's mind, I don't think you can ever try to prevent some of these things," he added.
Don Holman, owner of The Bullet Stop, told Eyewitness News he is worried about "copy cat" suicide attempts and was reluctant to do a news interview because of it. He said employees are trained to gauge a customer's state of mind by asking questions and making small talk.
"We like to make sure that employee feels comfortable with that individual; That he's going out there for honest and good integrity reasons," Holman said.
The Bullet Stop makes non-members fill-out a form listing all the rules of the range, including a statement that the person is "not under the influence of any mind-altering medications, illegal drugs, or alcohol."
Customers who rent guns must also answer questions about their experience with firearms and mental history. They are specifically asked "Have you ever been committed to a mental institution?"
Holman said he is considering some new restrictions for his business such as a "cooling off period", which would require new customers to become members and then wait a few days before shooting. He has also thought about only allowing gun renters to shoot if they're supervised by an employee.
"I don't want people hurt. So if it gets to the point where harm starts getting in the way, we'll install what we need to install," Holman said.
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