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Airsoft Shooting Arcade Inside Westfield Montgomery Closes Due To Community Uproar

BETHESDA, Md. (WJZ) -- A shooting arcade for pellet rifles inside Montgomery Mall sparked a neighborhood battle on social media, dividing people on gun rights.

The shooting range is called Aim Point. When it opened near the food court at Westfield Montgomery three weeks ago, some people were shocked.

Local realtor Eleanor Balaban posted her concerns on social media.

"Unbelievable, a shooting range has opened at Montgomery Mall!" she posted.

They may look like guns, but they are not: instead of bullets, the airsoft rifles shoot little plastic pellets. People pay a few dollars to fire the spring-loaded rifles at targets in the back of the store.

After a few days of controversy, however, mall management decided they had enough.

"Dear Neighbors," Terry Bowers, one of the shooting range's defenders, wrote on Nextdoor, "It seems that those who chose to vilify not just the arcade store, but the proprietor, have succeeded in their desires to have him and his store removed from Montgomery Mall. He will be closing in January. And they are not allowing him to open in Wheaton."

Bowers suggested the people targeting the shooting range were bullies.

A spokesman for Westfield said temporary leases at the mall are written so they can be terminated without cause.

While he did not want to speak on camera, one of the co-owners said he has to be out of the mall within weeks.

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