Class Action Lawsuit Against Front Sight Moves Forward - 8 News NOW

Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter

Class Action Lawsuit Against Front Sight Moves Forward

Posted: Updated:
Photo of Front Site's president Ignatius Piazza, Oct. 2004. Photo of Front Site's president Ignatius Piazza, Oct. 2004.
Feb. 2006 -

The I-Team was the first to tell you about allegations of racketeering and fraud at a Southern Nevada shooting range. A class action lawsuit against the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute, some 15 miles east of Pahrump, is now moving forward. Since the I-Team's story broke, new details about the facility and its safety have come to light.

Its creator bills it as a Disneyland for gun enthusiasts, but instead of amusement park rides students at the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute get their thrills from 700 rounds per minute. While learning skill at arms from instructors who focus on safety, but that priority on the firing line stops short at the classroom door -- a building that has yet to satisfy fire safety standards.

Jason Crosby, with the Nevada Fire Marshal's office, said, "It's imperative that these buildings be equipped with these systems because it is the life safety that we worry about." Crosby is an engineer with the Fire Marshal's office. For almost two years his agency has worked to get Front Sight into compliance with state fire codes. The law requires the 500-person classroom to have a complete fire suppression system including sprinklers, additional water storage tanks and fire pumps to support the water flow.

Hydrants, though secured in the ground, are not connected to a water source. Crosby said, "We want to work with these people. We want these safety features in the building. So, we're not going to say absolutely not, you need this right now. We're willing to work with them to get these safety features in the building."

Beginning in 2004, the Fire Marshal's office issued a series of temporary permits allowing Front Sight to use the classroom while it installs the fire suppression system. Each permit granted with a series of conditions and a schedule of completion. Front Sight has failed to meet its target three times and three times the fire marshal has supplied another permit.

Crosby said, "They did not comply with the letter of the schedule of compliance but they did make progress. They were not completely ignoring me, so therefore I was willing to work with them. It does no good to shut down a facility, it only causes more problems."

Crosby argues the building is not a threat to public safety. Were it to catch fire he believes the alarm system and the fire exits with guidance from the staff would be enough to get students out safely.

Engineer Ed Kaminski, a fire protection consultant, agrees but suggests the fire marshal should have given Front Sight 90 days to get up to code -- the industry standard -- instead of two years. "They could've or really should've closed the building or put on a stronger penalty for not being in compliance either by closing the building until they could come up to code, or some other means. Sometimes monetary fines or whatever would encourage the owner to come into compliance."

The latest temporary use permit gives Front Sight until Mar. 31 to finish the job. The fire marshal tells the I-Team  while he's satisfied with their progress he does not expect they will meet the deadline.

What does Front Sight have to say about all this? President Ignatius Piazza refused our request for an on-camera interview. And after agreeing to respond to our questions in writing, he reneged and sent the following statement. Quote; "After a personnel change brought to our attention, the deficits in complying with issues surrounding the classroom, Front Sight has worked and continues to work diligently with the appropriate agencies and vendors to bring everything into compliance while providing our world-class firearms training in a very safe environment."

We should point out all Department of Public Safety officers in the Nye County area use the Front Sight ranges for their weapons qualifications, which includes highway patrolman, parole and probation officers and the deputy fire marshal who inspects the facility.

Email investigative reporter Colleen McCarty at cmccarty@klastv.com

  • Colleen McCarty, Investigative ReporterClass Action Lawsuit Against Front Sight Moves ForwardMore>>

  • Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter

    A Gun and a Dream, Part 2

    Gun and a Dream, Part 2

    A home on the range motivated some gun enthusiasts to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a one-acre lot. Six years later, the promised parcels remain as desolate as they day they were secured prompting a class action lawsuit against the Front Sight organization and its president. More>>
  • Colleen McCarty, Investigative Reporter

    A Gun And a Dream

    A Gun and a Dream (Airs Nov. 7, 11pm)

    Its founder billed it as a Disneyland for gun enthusiasts, a 550-acre master planned community with a shooting range as the draw. The concept was unveiled in the late 1990s, complete with artist renderings and a miniature model. Today, the model remains on site but so far it’s the only house there. More>>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.