OGDEN -- Utah's Legislature launches its 45-day session next Monday, and Weber County Commissioners have offered House and Senate members an outlet to relieve some of their early stress.
"Bring your family! Guns and ammo will be provided or bring your own," urged the attractive invite that was sent to all 104 state lawmakers.
The Jan. 28 dine-and-shoot aims to showcase the Swanson Tactical Training Center in Ogden's Industrial Park and opens with dinner at 6 p.m. followed by 7 p.m. target practice.
The Swanson Family Foundation currently owns the nonprofit Center, but would like to sell it to the county for about $3.8 million.
According to Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, that price is just too good to pass up.
"They've put tens of millions of dollars into building it," Christensen said of the facility that features two indoor shooting ranges and a mock urban environment that regional law enforcement agencies and military special operations units utilize for training sessions.
If the county buys the facility, the two gun ranges could open for public use, Christensen said. He plans to bring his wife, elephant gun, and a few pistols to Tuesday's gun gala.
"Weber County would love to have some dollars from the state to help purchase this," Christensen said. "Whether we get some state support depends on the budget."
According to Holin Wilbanks, public information officer for Weber County, the Swanson center currently appraises for somewhere beteween $11 million and $14 million.
About 25 lawmakers have RSVP'd so far, Wilbanks said Monday. The county can use the venue that night for free, and the Sheriff's Office will provide ammunition to those who need it, Wilbanks added, so the county's costs could add up to about $500 for food. The invitations were made in-house, Wilbanks said.
"I'm planning to be there and it could be that my wife will come," said Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield. "She shoots a little bit. Women are natural shots -- their finger is their pointer."
The facility, originally built for law enforcement, has struggled to survive, Oda said, adding that he would support funneling some state funds towards the county's purchase.
"We need more public ranges," Oda said. "Otherwise we have people going out to places where they probably shouldn't be shooting."
House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Washington Terrace, said that he will probably be in attendance.
"If you like shooting and target practice, it should be a fun night," Dee said.
However, state lawmakers have already been inundated with invitations/funding requests, Dee said, for everything from autism to sports to shooting facilities throughout the state.
With so much on his calendar, Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, said that he would just as soon have requestors simply cut to the chase.
"I try to avoid dinners. I just want to know what they need and want, what their issues are," Pitcher said. "I do a lot better if I can just get the information."
Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.