CORONA, -- The manager of a Southern California shooting range is fighting arrest for being a convicted felon in possession of a gun -- in fact, lots of them.
Patrick Raahauge, 46, was arrested on Friday after state investigators acting on a tip allegedly saw him handling weapons and ammunition at the range in the Riverside County community of Corona, the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/1czboM0) reported. "He was clearly working there, in and around all the firearms," state Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory said. "He shouldn't be there at all."
Raahauge was convicted of stealing a car in 1999 and of illegally possessing a gun and ammunition in 2003. He filed a petition seeking a pardon from the governor in July but it had not been considered at the time of his arrest.
Raahauge is free on $10,000 bail. His attorney, Robert Hickey, said it was too early to comment on the charges.
The range, which rents pistols, assault rifles and shotguns, includes nearly 700 acres of constructed wetlands and is popular with duck and pheasant hunters. It was founded in 1971 by Raahauge's grandfather, Linc Raahauge, and his father, Mike, took over when Linc died in 1989.
After his father's death in May, the lease was transferred to Raahauge's mother, Elaine, but he remained as manager.
"You've got to carry on," Raahauge, 46, said at his father's memorial service. "What else can you do?"
Raahauge had been working at the range since 2005 with consent from his parole officer at the time, said Tom Watts, a family attorney.
The family took steps to ensure that he didn't handle any guns, including creating a room without firearms where he could work, Watts said.
"There were a lot of invisible measures taken that you as a customer would have never seen to make sure that he didn't come in contact with any firearms," Watts said.
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was unable Monday to confirm whether a parole officer had approved the arrangements. Spokesman Bill Sessa told the Register that it would take a significant amount of research to find Raahauge's parole records.
However, it would be "highly unusual" to approve such an arrangement, given Raahauge's prior conviction on a weapons charge, Sessa told the Register.
Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.com