Rifle Range closed at Koko Head Shooting Complex, renovations to come

Published On: Dec 07 2013 07:04:27 PM HST   Updated On: Dec 07 2013 07:56:04 PM HST

Oahu's only public rifle range has been shut down indefinitely. The city has closed the rifle range at the Koko Head Shooting Complex after two reports of stray bullets landing in a residential area nearby.

"We're going to be closing it down temporarily while we complete the investigation," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The rifle range is located on the southwest side of Koko Crater. Officials say one of those bullets was reported to have hit a car near the Botanical Garden on the northeast side of the crater. The other, struck a home in a subdivision on the opposite side of the crater as well.

In May, a woman's van was hit while parked at Sandy beach. It's still unclear if any of those bullets came from the range.

"It is possible, I wouldn't say it's impossible, it's highly unlikely but possible," said Mike Muramoto, the range master at Koko Head Shooting Complex.

Muramoto said he's seen bullets ricochet off the berm before and also told us the area is in need of renovation.

"If it hits something, it's very unpredictable how far it will go or where it will go," said Muramoto.

Matt Longfellow says the only way bullets could reach the opposite side of the crater is by shooting directly over it.

"I just cannot imagine somebody pointing a gun that high into the air, you know an accident could have happened but it's not going to happen over and over again," said Longfellow.

The city says the berm is supposed to be at 90-degree angle but after all the years of wear and tear, some parts of the berm look more like its at a 45-degree angle. The plan now is to back fill it in with dirt and return it to a right angle.

The city also plans to create an eyelash, extending the roof that covers shooters, to keep them from mis-firing into the sky.

"Both of these can be done fairly quickly, my goal here is to get it running again in a safe way," said Caldwell.

But will the renovations solve the problem? Gun enthusiasts say the city's aim might be off target.

"Without the study of the bullet, these repairs may be just for show," said Longfellow.

Either way, the city says the improvements are needed. It'll get an emergency permit Monday to start the work and expects the rifle range to be back up and running by early January.


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