The next chapter in the ongoing tale of This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things is unfolding in California at Riverside Magnum Range. The public shooting range is a popular stop for enthusiasts, offering the normally expected amenities. But in an effort to get more women interested and trained in safe firearms use, the owner, Peter Lee, has been offering a “Ladies Night” every week where female patrons can shoot for free. The normal fee is fifteen dollars.

It was a great idea and a popular one. At least until one person had to come along and complain, threatening legal action on the basis of gender discrimination. Yes… seriously. (CBS Los Angeles)

Magnum owner Peter Lee started “Ladies Night” a few years ago, waiving the $15 range fee for any woman who wants to practice shooting. He says he hopes it’ll cut down on accidental shooting deaths.

“If the woman come here, they might know more chance to handle the gun safely,” Lee said.

However, it’s last call for “Ladies Night, at least for now, after Lee got a letter from an Orange County man threatening legal action. The man is upset since he had to pay while attending a “Ladies Night” and says he deserves compensation claiming the program is discrimination.

Here’s part of the letter sent by the attorney of the oppressed and aggrieved male.

Promotions such as those mentioned above constitute civil rights violations under the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and entitle the individual subject to discrimination to statutory damages.”

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this sounds crazy. After all, the range is a private business. Can’t the owner offer special deals and incentives to draw in customers? In a more libertarian and less litigious society, yes. But in reality there have been legal challenges over similar things in the past and the courts have been surprisingly supportive of the plaintiffs.

While not dealing with a shooting range in particular, over the past ten years we saw a number of similar lawsuits brought against bars and restaurants which offered ladies night specials with free or reduced price drinks. And according to this ABC News report from ten years ago, the bars usually lost. The courts frequently found that, “single-sex discounts violate state and federal statutes guaranteeing equal protection under the law.”

I suppose that’s technically true, but has society really changed all that much since I was a young man? Since when do guys complain about bars trying to attract more women? And since the guys typically wind up paying for a lot of the drinks anyway, wouldn’t free drinks for their prospective dates be a good thing? The same thing goes for a shooting range, only it deals with a far more serious topic. Well trained, armed women are far more capable of protecting themselves. Wouldn’t you want to attract more of them to the range? And we’re talking about fifteen bucks here. If you can afford a decent handgun or rifle, that’s probably not breaking your bank. What kind of a guy wants to stop this?

As I said at the top… this is why we can’t have nice things.