Are the Koko Head Shooting Range safety repairs working?

More than $90,000 was spent to improve Koko Head Shooting Complex, after reports of stray bullets flying into homes and cars.

But some residents say the repairs are not enough.

The city closed the rifle range in December after a stray bullet ended up inside a home.

And for two weeks in January, the entire shooting complex was closed to make the facility safer.

The city spent $94,000 on the work, and re-opened the shooting complex exactly one month ago.

Some members of the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board feel the work was just superficial, and that more needs to be done to keep people safe.

But the city says there’ve been no reports of any stray bullets since they made the repairs.

The city spent $94,000 on things like: rebuilding the berm in the back of the targets to prevent ricochets from flying up, and building an “eyebrow” to discourage people from pointing their rifles up.

And just last weekend, volunteers removed the long-range metal targets from the mountainside — targets that were put there by the rifle enthusiasts, and not the city.

The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board took up the issue during its monthly meeting Tuesday night.

“Additional modifications need to be made to the rifle range to bring it up to safety standards.  My feeling is the rifle range should be closed until those improvements are made.  Is it going to take somebody getting hit by a bullet before we wake up to the fact that this is not an essential city service?” said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Gene Tierney.

“We think everything is under control and we really want to keep the range open because it’s one of the only free and open places that people can legally use their rifles on Oahu.  We’re happy about the fact that people who own rifles use them at that shooting range not anywhere else.  So that’s what we’re trying to encourage,” said Jesse Broder Van Dyke, the Mayor’s Communications Director.

One of the incidents that prompted the closure was a bullet that ended up in the kitchen of a home that’s within shooting distance of the range.

Police have not determined for sure whether any of the stray bullets in fact came from the shooting complex.

Bottom line — the city feels the safety repairs have been working, but Neighborhood Board members feels the city can do even more to make it safe.

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