Darren “Chop” Leung

Sunday, January 1st, 2006

Believe it or not, deep in the heart of New York City is a young gentleman so committed to the right to keep and bear arms that he’s running a perfectly legal professional shooting range right off Broadway.
 That fellow is 40-year old Darren “Chop” Leung, the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for January.
 In nominating Leung for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, noted that, “recently, while talking with Darren on the phone, he asked me to drop in on him at the Westside Rifle and Pistol Range, Inc.  Darren is Vice President of the Range and co-owner, with Robert S. Derrig.
 “Shortly after that, I was in New York and did in fact visit with Darren and some of the other shooters at the lower Manhattan location.  His enthusiasm for safe shooting and for preserving the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens is outstanding.  The fact that he maintains this position right in the heart of the metropolis known far and wide for the production of so much anti-gun propaganda makes him even more outstanding.  He certainly is a most worthy candidate for the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award.”
 Born and bred and Jesuit-educated in New York City, Darren developed an affinity for firearms and gun rights at an early age, and now works to help qualified citizens apply for and obtain pistol permits in gun control crazy New York City.
 It’s a hard road. 
 In a city of many millions of people, there are only about 14,000 permits to own a pistol issued to private citizens, says Darren.  Of that 14,000, only about 10 percent are carry permits.
 “You’re more likely to be robbed than to get a pistol permit,” he says.
 Darren and others at the West Side Rifle & Pistol Range try to do what they can to make the best of what is a hard situation for law-abiding firearm activists in New York.  The range, located in a basement at 20 West 20th Street since 1965, is the only range in Manhattan open to private citizens.
 Darren started working there in 1989 and became co-owner in 1994.  It claims a membership of 2,500.
 The range was the scene of Darren’s interview with Nicole Citron, a graduate student in the journalism department at New York University who reviews books for Publishers Weekly.  She noted in the publication Identity Theory that when she asked Darren how he ended up in his line of work, he replied with a rhetorical question: “Didn’t every Chinese kid want to be a cowboy?”
  She wrote also that Darren, “who grew up on the Lower East Side…carries a Glock 19 pistol in a holster at his hip.  Because he’s also a peace officer for the State of New York – he used to enforce child abuse cases – his Glock contains a high capacity magazine.  Instead of the 10 rounds to which civilians are limited, the magazine holds twelve 9mm bullets…
 “‘You grow up watching TV, you want to be that hero who saves the entire Western town – all done with his firearm,’ Darren says…But the adult reality of actually carrying a gun weighs heavily on Darren.  ‘It means I must have more responsibility in life.  You have life and death in your hands.  Anybody who has ever carried a gun for a living probably has one of the calmest temperaments.’”
 Darren was married in 2003.  He and his wife, Wai, are the proud parents of an 18-month-old daughter, Samantha.  He told Point Blank he hopes that, when Samantha grows up, she will follow him in running the range.