Lead closes Hibbing gun range

The Hibbing School Board and the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club intended to give a new deal to use the Lincoln Elementary gun range a year’s test.

It lasted not quite two weeks after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported elevated levels of lead at the gun range, according to the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

The range, in the basement of the school, is active only in non-school hours. No weapons nor ammunition are stored there. But the future of the gun range has been contentious in the city.

“That beaten horse I spoke of a while back has died,” Jay Runnakko, president of Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club, told the paper. “Some anonymous, civic-minded citizen filed a complaint with OSHA about the range. I hope this ends the controversy. We lost, the bad guys won.”

The school district has been fined $1,750 by OSHA. The fine will be reduced if a plan to clean the facility is completed by Feb. 9.

The gun range has been around for 60 years.

  • MrE85
    • jon

      I think all ammo* poses a certain health risk particularly when moving at a high velocity towards you.

      🙂

      *bullets

  • jon

    I would think lead mitigation and ventilation strategy would be pretty standard requirements for any indoor (or even outdoor) range.

    Any chance we’ll see a copy of the Osha report to find out what remediation steps would have need to be taken? The article makes it sound like it was just a failure to clean the range properly.

    • DavidG

      Even if they instituted a plan sometime in the last 30 or so years since concern about lead contamination became a thing, (and you’re right, I’m maazed they didn’t) there was still 30 years of use to deal with.

      • jon

        It sounds from the article like they need to clean it up if they continue to use it or not….
        If that is the case then “I hope this ends the controversy. We lost, the bad guys won.” is just a face saving platitude.
        Same as “I really tried guys, but I ran into one small obstacle and despite having to fix it either way this just isn’t going to work.”

        • DavidG

          oh, sure. The only way they might be able to avoid cleanup is if they could permanently seal off access. But air has a way of finding its way through even the tiniest cracks.

          I guess my main point was it’s not surprising that 60 years ago there was no lead mitigation strategy, since there wasn’t any concern about lead poisoning then. That didn’t really become a thing until the late 60s early 70s.

          They probably grandfathered the range in to avoid developing one after that.

  • Michael

    From the Hibbing Daily Tribune:

    ————–
    There has not been a lead-related illness during the 60 years that the gun range has been in operation, said Jerry Runnakko, president of Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.

    “That beaten horse I spoke of a while back has died,” he said. “Some anonymous, civic-minded citizen filed a complaint with OSHA about the range. I hope this ends the controversy. We lost, the bad guys won.”
    ————–

    The above makes me sad. I do not see “bad guys” in this story, why does someone have to be a “bad guy” if they do not like the idea of a Gun Range in a school, or they are worried about lead in the facility used by the — what I am assuming is — the student gun club? The one with Teenagers and Young adults with developing minds.

    I like the idea of the Gun Range in the school, accessible only to the club members. We need to be able to teach gun safety and they should have a place where they can practice and enjoy their skills, but do we really know that there has not been a lead-related illness or just that we have not diagnosed one. Do we really have to turn this disagreement into us vs. them and “The bad guys won”??

    • Ben Chorn

      Everything now is “us vs them,” especially politics. You’re either for my views or against and if you’re against then you’re wrong.

      This country has become less about discussion and more about shouting.

      Hell, “alternate facts” are apparently a thing now.

    • jon

      If it involves guns there are only good guys and bad guys.
      We can thank old school hollywood westerns for teaching us that.

      Of course if we lived in a sane world that wouldn’t be the case.. but here we are.

  • Veronica

    It’s quiet astonishing to see so many people who outright will play Russian roulette with their health and the health of their kids.

  • Jeff C.

    “There has not been a lead-related illness during the 60 years that the
    gun range has been in operation, said Jerry Runnakko, president of
    Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.”

    Dad goes to the gun range and comes home with lead dust on his clothes. Dad picks up newborn baby. Baby chews on dad’s shoulder. Baby gets lead dust in mouth. Years later baby is diagnosed with lead poisoning. Did baby ever go to the gun range? No. Would the gun range ever be considered to be the cause of the illness? No. But since there is no level of lead exposure that is considered to be safe, did the range contribute to the baby’s illness? Yes.

    Plus, what difference does it matter someone hasn’t become sick because of the range (yet) (if you assume that the claim is true)? If we know that the risk of permanent and life-long brain damage is present and why not make the recommended changes? Why complain instead?

    I’m fine with them closing the range. I just wish they didn’t call people who care about the health of other people “bad guys”.