HONOLULU (KHON2) — City officials said they will be meeting with a consultant in the coming weeks to help address lead exposure concerns and other updates to the Koko Head Shooting complex amid the shooting range’s closure.
Oahu’s only public shooting range is going into its fourth month of being off-limits. The Hawaii Firearms Coalition Director, Andrew Namiki Roberts, said this limits the public’s available spaces to practice with their firearms.
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Roberts said, “The public has nowhere to shoot. And for us, that’s a safety concern. You know, people should have the ability to go out and practice with their firearms if they’re going to own them.”
Firearm owners have two private gun ranges as options, but those costs come out of their pockets.
The City had scheduled to close the Koko Head Shooting Complex during the fall to reinforce the backstop behind the shooting targets. But during that time, the City learned employees had tested with elevated lead levels in their system.
The City’s Parks and Recreation Spokesperson Nate Serota said those employees were reassigned to work in other areas.
Serota said, “All the levels that came back, while we can’t get into details they were well below any medical or OSHA concern levels, that there was no lead poisoning that was reported back to us.”
The City contracted Kramer One, a company based in Arizona as a consultant. The $55,000 contract will evaluate existing operations and site conditions and provide recommendations to mitigate lead exposure.
“It’s looking at current operations, what we’ve done in the past, what we can do better in the future,” Serota said. “Looking at cleaning, looking at hand sanitizing stations, looking at exposure, looking at you know if there are things that can minimize that, things like maybe restricting eating and drinking or smoking at the complex.”
Roberts said adding more hand washing stations throughout the range could be a relatively simple fix to reduce lead exposure.
“Most of that exposure is going to come from hand washing,” Roberts said. “That is the biggest thing people can do at the range, wash your hands before eating, touching your face, when you get home, take a shower, wash your clothes separately from your other clothes.”
Roberts said they want the safety of those using the complex and its employees to be the priority, but given that it is the only public shooting complex on the island, they would like to see the work completed in a timely manner.
Serota said consultants will be on the island this month for a site visit.
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He said, “More than likely it is going to be closed for the rest of this calendar year, rest assured we want to get this complex opened as soon as possible.”
An official reopening date is still to be determined. According to the City, more than 32,000 used the complex last year.