Nation’s First Black Owned Gun Range Hosts Prepares Local Women Against Human Trafficking

“If you want to know what an ideal target for human trafficking looks like, just sneak a peek of yourself in the mirror,” cautions Rick Ferrell, an Army veteran and owner of Tango Down Shooting Complex in West Jacksonville, to attendees at the range’s first annual Women Warrior seminar. The seminar was held March 30th, as a part of the complex’s ongoing commitment to building and supporting women as agents of their own safety and protection.

Ferrell achieved his expertise on human trafficking, a growing problem in Florida and nationally, in a unique way. “I’m a retired military intelligence officer whose job included capturing human targets. So I have unique training to understand how these kidnappers think, what motivates them, and how they will leverage your vulnerability.”

The event was attended by women of all ages, races, and backgrounds, as they listened to learn real-world tactics to maintain their own personal safety and prevent themselves from becoming victims of trafficking. But one attendee understood the information all too well. Angel Williams, a Jacksonville makeup artist and cosmetologist, was targeted during a daily trip to work at a local shopping complex. Williams was able to use her quick instincts and her resources to avoid capture, but the event was enough to spur her to get some training. “I spoke with my Pastor, Dr. James White, and he recommended I meet with Rick because of his expertise. I know now if I’m ever in a risky or compromising situation again where my personal safety is in jeopardy, I’m confident of what to do.” This is the kind of work that Ferrell and his team remain committed to.

The Women Warrior event, which will be held annually, is just one of many things that make this shooting range different than its competitors. Ask Ferrell what’s special about Tango Down Shooting Complex and the list will be long. The retired U.S. Army Green Beret, who also served as an intelligence officer, passionately details the work he and the Tango Down team have been putting into the complex, which officially opened last Fall. The grounds are massive, spawning nearly 300 acres of open space in West Duval. Recent renovations and upgrades include private bays, long-range lanes, and customized events and training.  Ferrell and his ownership group are proud to be the nation’s first black-owned outdoor gun range and shooting complex in the nation. “We want to welcome all gun owners and support them having access to a high-quality range with well-qualified instructors to teach and train with. We also host competitions, educational seminars, and more.” Explains Ferrell, “We want this to be a space where people can connect their precision and passion.”

If you’re stopping by the impressive range, located at 18811 Maxville-MacClenny Road, Jacksonville, FL 32234, don’t forget to bring your appetite to enjoy a lunch or snack at Gumbo Ya Ya, the range’s on-site culinary haven, which Ferrell, also the head chef and bottle washer, describes as “Louisiana Cajun-Puerto Rican inspired cuisine,” offering scratch-made gumbo and spicy jambalaya, savory empanadas, and more made to order favorites.

Ferrell may be happy to share his expertise to help support women prevent human trafficking and protect themselves, but he won’t share his recipes. “Not happening. My training also prepared me to keep highly confidential information confidential and these recipes definitely meet that requirement.” Tango Down, like its owner, relishes being a unicorn in the gun range community but doesn’t expect to stay a secret. “We’re here for the long haul and we look forward to making Jacksonville our home.”  Shown is Ferrell educating women attendees on safety and protection.

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