Safety improvements to Koko Head Rifle Range, required before the planned re-opening, have begun.
Reports of bullet strikes in October on the other side of Koko Head Crater first led to limiting the Rifle Range to 100 yards, and most steel targets beyond were taken down. Ricochets from recumbent steel were thought to be the possible cause.
After two more bullet strikes were reported Friday, December 6, the Rifle Range was closed. Honolulu Mayor Caldwell held a press conference on the range Saturday December 7 to announce City and County plans. Now the focus is on possible ricochets from the 100 yard rifle range. A mitigation program to resurface the 100 yard backstop with sand and level the range floor that slopes uphill from the 50 yard target line to the 100 yard backstop is planned. Some grading, a strip about 10 yards wide, in front of the 100 yard significantly eroded backstop has been done (see photo below). Two large sand piles are on site, and coarse crushed rock was added to the road access to the Silhouette Range to allow heavy equipment to enter. An "eyebrow" is planned extending from the roof of the rifle range as a reminder. Building of that had not yet begun as of Wednesday, December 19.
The Silhouette Range has voluntarily shut down for now. The Skeet Range was not open last weekend. The Bulls-Eye pistol range remains open, usual hours. Law enforcement personnel are still shooting in the action bays. Apparently air testing done for lead during the soil disturbance by grading was not positive, or the whole range would be closed.
The range cleanup day, previously scheduled for December 29, is postponed because of lead concerns until 2014.
HRA is working with the favorable administration we now have. The immediate focus is on re-opening the 100 yard range to the public as soon as the Range Master, Parks Director, and the Mayor believe it is safe. Then HRA plans to work with them, the clubs and individual shooters involved, the public users, and City Council, to bring Koko Head into the 21st Century of range design, including placement of some 200+ yard targets.
HRA suggests for now that range supporters send Mayor Caldwell and Parks Director Toni Robinson Holiday Cards thanking them for their concern and positive action to date.
KIRK CALDWELL, MAYOR
530 S. King Street, Rm. 300
Honolulu, HI 96813
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
Toni P. Robinson, Director
1000 Uluohia Street, Suite 309
Kapolei, HI 96707
Dr. Maxwell Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison
UPDATE: The Hawaii Metallic Silhouette Shooters have voluntarily closed their Koko Head range in deference to the safety concerns at the Koko Head Rifle Range.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a press conference Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at Koko Head Rifle Range. He and Rangemaster Mike Muramoto spoke to two television crews. Parks Director Toni Robinson was present and was interviewed as were Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Chairperson, Greg Knudsen, and a number of shooters. HRA was represented by Dr. Max Cooper.
Because of two new bullet strikes reported in east Hawaii Kai on Friday Dec. 6, 2013, temporary indefinite closure of Koko Head Rifle Range was announced evening, Dec. 6, 2013 by the Mayor's Office. See the official press release below. There was a bullet strike reported on a car at a time when the Rifle and Pistol ranges only were open and live fire was in progress. No bullet was yet recovered from that vehicle as of Saturday, Dec.7, 2013. A second bullet strike to a home was reported by a homeowner who discovered it after returning from a week away. That bullet was recovered and no details are available yet. All other ranges at the Koko Head Shooting Complex remain open.
This followed limitation of the rifle range to 100 yard targets effective Nov. 1, 2013 after bullet strikes were reported to two homes in late Oct., 2013, one in the Queen's Gate housing area and the other on Koko Kai Place. Both areas are downrange of the rifle range on the opposite side of Koko Head.
Mayor Caldwell has announced that permits are in place and funding is available for plans to refurbish the 100yd berm and range floor and erect a visual overhang, starting early in December, 2013, with anticipated re-opening in early Jan. He advised the press that HPD has opened an investigation of reckless endangerment. The Parks Department will review other safety options as well. A preliminary report by Parks Director Toni Robinson is planned for the Mayor's Hawaii Kai "Town Hall" meeting on:December 10, 2013 at Kaiser High School Cafeteria,511 Lunalilo Home Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825, . Also, the Range will be a subject of the Honolulu City and County report to the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board when it reconvenes in, at Hahaione Elementary School Cafeteria.
Rangemaster Mike Muramoto advised televison reporters that it is not certain that bullet strikes originated from the rifle range, but that it is a possibility, so safety precautions are necessary.
The issue presents a good opportunity for range supporters to work with our supportive Mayor Caldwell, Director of Parks Robinson, and Honolulu City Council, and the Hawaii Kai community, to see that necessary range improvements are identified, funded, and implemented.
Dr. Maxwell Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison
OFFICE OF MAYOR KIRK CALDWELL
CITY & COUNTY OF HONOLULU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 06, 2013
Jesse Broder Van Dyke 489-0341
Koko Head rifle range temporarily closed after new reports of stray bullets
East Oahu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that the rifle range within the Koko Head Shooting Complex will be temporarily closed effective following two new reports today of stray bullets.
“I am a strong supporter of the Koko Head Shooting Complex because it is one of the only safe and legal places for responsible members of Oahu’s shooting and hunting community to practice safe shooting,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We made the difficult decision to temporarily close the rifle range in an abundance of caution for the safety of those in the surrounding community, but I am committed to installing emergency mitigation measures in order to reopen the range as soon as possible.”
Mayor Caldwell discussed some of the options to reopen the range.
“We want to repair the rifle range berm directly behind the targets, which has been eroded over the years, so it will better absorb bullets. I would also like to construct a visual overhang that would remind shooters to aim their rifles properly.”
The closure only applies to the rifle range. The complex will remain open during normal hours and the pistol, silhouette, archery, action, skeet, and trap ranges remain open.
No injuries have been reported, only property damage. This is a precautionary measure.
Media advisory: Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Director of Parks and Recreation Toni Robinson, and Range Master Mike Moramoto will be available , Saturday December 7, at at the Koko Head Shooting Complex to answer questions about the closure.
HONOLULU CITY COUNCILMEMBER STANLEY CHANG (District 4, AlaMoana Park to Hawaii Kai) IS INTRODUCING AN ANTI-GUN RESOLUTION (see full text below) "URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO ENACT LEGISLATION NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT PRESIDENT BARAACK OBAMA'S "NOW IS THE TIME" PLAN TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE."
530 South King Street, Room 202
Attention of Councilmember Chang
Honolulu, HI 96813
Telephone: (808) 768-5004
Fax: (808) 768-1169
Also please go to http://www1.honolulu.gov/council/ccl.htm to find your Councilmember and copy him or her.
Here's my message to him:
Honorable Councilmember Stanley Chang,
Your planned reso on gun control is wildly inaccurate and extremely offensive to gun rights supporters.
Dr Maxwell Cooper
Hawaii Rifle Association
URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO ENACT LEGISLATION NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S “NOW IS THE TIME” PLAN TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE.
WHEREAS, violence involving firearms in the United States presents a persistent societal ill that results in approximately 100,000 victims annually, including over 30,000 deaths; and
WHEREAS, the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which resulted in the death of 20 children and 6 adults, demonstrated the need for stronger laws to prevent gun violence; and
WHEREAS, numerous factors contribute to the occurrence of mass shootings, including unregulated access to assault weapons and assault magazines, insufficient background checks, and needed improvements to our mental health system, among others; and
WHEREAS, semiautomatic assault weapons designed with military features allow for the rapid fire of potentially large numbers of bullets, and are distinguishable from standard sporting firearms by features such as the ability to accept a detachable magazine, pistol grips, and folding or telescoping stocks; and
WHEREAS, semiautomatic assault weapons are frequently used in mass shootings, including the 1993 101 California Street shooting in San Francisco that involved two TEC-9 semiautomatic handguns, and the recent Aurora, Colorado, shooting that involved an AR-15 style semiautomatic assault rifle with a 100-round ammunition drum; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has affirmed once and for all that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. However, as conservative justice Antonin Scalia outlined, the District of Columbia v. Heller decision does not prohibit laws forbidding firearms in places such as schools or regulation of unusually dangerous weapons, nor does it restrict laws prohibiting felons and the mentally ill from carrying guns; and
WHEREAS, unlike most states, Hawaii requires every firearm to be registered, requires every purchaser of a firearm to obtain a license after a background check, and bans assault pistols and large capacity ammunition magazines that can be used with
WHEREAS, Hawaii has the lowest rate of gun deaths among the states, but 485 people died in Hawaii between 1999 and 2010 from gun violence; and
WHEREAS, stronger laws would lead to a lower number of deaths resulting from gun violence; and
WHEREAS, reasonable restrictions on possession and use of firearms are continually stymied by the gun lobby despite recurring mass shootings across the country and a national consensus to reign in the rampant proliferation of guns; and
WHEREAS, on January 16, 2013, President Barack Obama released the “Now is the Time” plan to reduce gun violence, which involves steps to protect Americans from mass shootings including:
1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous
2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common sense steps to reduce gun violence;
3. Making schools safer; and
4. Increasing access to mental health services; and
WHEREAS, President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence requires that the
United States Congress pass legislation requiring:
1. Universal background checks for gun sales;
2. The reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapon ban;
3. Capping ammunition magazines to a ten-round limit;
4. Banning armor piercing ammunition;
5. Providing schools with resource officers and school counselors;
6. Putting more police officers on the street; and
7. Ensuring that health insurance plans cover mental health benefits;
WHEREAS, the United States Congress appears to be unable to agree on any
legislation that would address gun violence issues; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the City and County of Honolulu that it urges
the United States Congress to enact legislation necessary to implement President
Barack Obama’s “Now is the Time” plan to reduce gun violence; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution be transmitted to
President Barack Obama, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
United States House of Representatives, and members of the Hawaii delegation to the
United States Congress.
Introduced by: Stanley Chang