5 On Your Side: How safe are shooting ranges?

Incident in Northeastern Iowa sparks concern in the metro

CENTRAL IOWA - The story of an eight-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet is raising concerns about gun ranges in Iowa.

While at a family outing at an apple orchard in Nashua, Kaden Noble was hit by a stray bullet from a nearby shooting range earlier this month. He is now recovering in the hospital.

So if you are near a metro gun range, how are you being protected?

Banner Shooting Range is one of a few outdoor ranges near the metro -- all run by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. A range officer tells Local 5 that angled, metal plates force the bullets downward to keep them from leaving the area of the shooting range. There is also a large hill behind the targets to stop the bullets in their tracks.

The concerns of a stray bullet leaving a shooting range also apply to indoor facilities, like CrossRoads Shooting Sports in Johnston. But CrossRoads General Manager Tom Hudson says concrete walls help keep everyone safe. Hudson adds that it is all about location.

"I'm in a highly populated density area, we built right here alongside the interstate right off Merle Hay, so it was of great concern to the city and my initial planning of what we're going to do make sure the bullets don't escape the building," Hudson said.

Hudson says indoor ranges without buildings made of concrete run the risk of a bullet piercing through to the outside. So besides concrete walls, what else is protecting you?

"There's a complete metal concrete roof up here as well," Hudson said. "Having a concrete ceiling is not necessarily a given which means that round could go up, that bullet could go up and still escape the building."

And behind the rubber bullet trap at the end of the range, Hudson says there is another layer of concrete. The business next door says it is thankful those safety measures are in place.

"You can't hear a gun shot you don't even know it's a shooting range over there," said David Klein, the manager of Leaf Filter, which is right next to CrossRoads. "I've been over there and visited personally, and it all comes down to how the facility's set up and how it's managed."

Hudson says part of that management is making sure the concrete stays firm.

"We currently shut down three to four times a year just to do building and facility maintenance," Hudson said.

DNR workers tell Local 5 upkeep is also constantly done at outdoor ranges to prevent anyone nearby from getting hit.

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