Needless range death


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coloradokevin
July 20, 2009, 01:35 PM
So, I just saw this article through a local news site:

http://www.9news.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=119786&catid=346


"EL PASO COUNTY - A 25-year-old man was killed when a friend accidentally shot him as they were unloading their weapons at an unsupervised shooting range on U.S. Forest Service land in El Paso County.



Otis Freison of Aurora was shot in the chest at the range on Rampart Range Road on Saturday, said Lt. Lari Sevene with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Freison was among a group of friends who had gone to the range.

"Someone didn't clear their weapon properly," Sevene said. "As a general rule, everyone is on the line parallel to each other, and their firearms are pointed down range, but this is a public range, so there is no oversight."

The range in the Pike National Forest near the Garden of the Gods is managed by the Forest Service.

A National Rifle Association-sponsored shooting range adviser inspected the trash-strewn site in April 2007, according to a decision memo on the Forest Service website.

The adviser "recommended that supervision on site was needed immediately," the memo said.

A Forest Service dispatcher referred a call for comment to the sheriff's office.

Freison's father, also named Otis Freison, said the range should be closed.

"I thought this was a supervised club, and now I am finding out that this place is a garbage dump, basically," he said. "If you don't have supervision in a place like that it is dangerous. It absolutely should be shut down."

A 2006 article in The (Colorado Springs) Gazette described the range as trash-strewn.

"Thousands of paper targets blanket scrub oak trees, pines and both sides of the roadway," the article said. "Mixed in are the ubiquitous beer cans and bottles, fast-food sacks and cups that are dumped during busy weekends.

"Appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters and computer monitors are routinely dumped at the range," according to the article.

Freison was a "good kid," who had a gun but wasn't an avid shooter, his father said. "I'm still trying to figure out what he was doing down there."

Freison installed neon signs for a living but lost his job because of the recession, his father said.

A number of people were at the range when the accident happened at 12:28 p.m.

Freison's friends started life-saving efforts, and medical personnel who arrived shortly after the accident worked unsuccessfully to revive him according to the sheriff's office.

The El Paso County District Attorney's Office will determine whether charges should be filed, authorities said."

While I think that it is tragic when anyone loses their life in the course of enjoying a hobby, I also realize that this incident was completely preventable, and will probably lead to this range eventually being shut down!

For those of you who shoot in the Colorado Front Range, you are probably already familiar with the Rampart Range facility. When I lived near Colorado Springs I used to regularly visit this unsupervised range, which is located in one of the best natural settings I've had the pleasure of shooting at (with a nice big view of Pikes Peak and everything). Unfortunately, in classic form people have trashed this FREE and unsupervised public range, which has led to an ongoing controversy over whether or not it should be closed. Given this incident, I imagine we've probably seen the last of this facility :cuss:

As I said, it is tragic when anyone loses their life unecessarily. But, it is a real shame that the negligent actions that led to this death will now probably impact the rest of the local shooting community!

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damien
July 20, 2009, 01:54 PM
Someone drove off the Grand Canyon last week. Maybe they should shut that facility down. Too damn dangerous.

rondog
July 20, 2009, 02:00 PM
I've been to Rampart a couple times, won't go back. I knew it was just a matter of time before somebody caught one there, but I'm surprised it was during an "unloading". I still expect someone to catch one from some idiot doing something stupid. Seems like that's the place to go for the idjits.

fireman 9731
July 20, 2009, 03:08 PM
Someone drove off the Grand Canyon last week. Maybe they should shut that facility down. Too damn dangerous.

That made me laugh :)

dbltp
July 20, 2009, 03:32 PM
I live in the springs and have been to Rampart Range once or twice ad i also will not go back there. Both times I was there it was half-filled with people gangsta' leaning their two different caliber handguns in rapid fire hitting not a damn thing...

The other half is full of trash... it literally looks like a garbage dump that has an inordinate number of shell casings... I would rather drive an hour further and shoot in the national forest or pay to go to Dragon Mans.

hawmanai
July 20, 2009, 03:51 PM
Rather than shutting it down, I would propose that someone step forward and apply for a special use permit to operate a recreational facility and charge people to use it.

Nowdays the Forest Service has money problems and this might be a solution to shutting it down. Shutting it down won't solve anything as people will still use it for whatever.

The FS is also going to avoid any kind of responsibility and most of the folks in leadership positions are college kids with enviromental degrees (not gun lovers).

Dr.Rob
July 20, 2009, 03:54 PM
I thought this range was closed long ago.

coloradokevin
July 20, 2009, 04:00 PM
hawmanai,

I have an issue with adding more fees for using public land. It seems like everything is gaining a fee here and there these days, and I'm tired of the trend. I always enjoyed having a free place to shoot, even if I normally conduct such operations on lessor known pieces of public land these days!

dblpt,

It has been almost five years since I lived down that way, so things could have certainly become worse than it was when I was there. The trash was always a huge factor even when I was living further south, and I even recall one instance where some idiot shot a deer that was standing near the backstop on the 100 yd range.

I only ever dealt with one incident at this range where I felt like my safety was in jeapordy (out of probably 100+ times going there). In this instance I was shooting at the range just as the sun was setting, and a car load of gang-banger types rolled up to use the range. They were drinking beer, and obviously not the least bit conscious of safety. In fact, they never placed a target on the backstop, and just began blasting away in the classic gangsta' shooting stance. This incident was definitely a concern to me, but given that it occurred just as it was getting dark, I figured that it wasn't the type of activity that was seen during normal daytime operating hours (we were just packing up when they arrived, as it was nearly too dark to shoot, and I haven't personally witnessed incidents like these during the daylight hours).

GodGuns&Guitars
July 20, 2009, 04:59 PM
I've been there twice and never shot there. I was there one time when small children, (2 years old) were running around unsuppervised with no hearing protection or anything. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened there. People bring out old TV's dump them, shoot at them, then leave the darn things lying around. Trash is blowing all over the place, empty boxes, Wal Mart bags, and various other stuff. I cringe just driving by the place. I don't know about closing the place, but something definitely needs to be done. Friends of the NRA spent a weekend cleaning the place up once, only to have the place trashed out before the weekend was out. People drinking, throwing their cans out and then shooting at them. A good place to steer clear of unless someone wants to take it over and manage it. County and forest service are out of money to do such a thing. People would just complain about that too.

Bailey Guns
July 20, 2009, 05:10 PM
I've been to Rampart a couple times, won't go back. I knew it was just a matter of time before somebody caught one there, but I'm surprised it was during an "unloading". I still expect someone to catch one from some idiot doing something stupid. Seems like that's the place to go for the idjits.

Ummm...I think that's exactly what happened.

stonecutter2
July 20, 2009, 05:31 PM
I've been to Rampart a couple times, won't go back. I knew it was just a matter of time before somebody caught one there, but I'm surprised it was during an "unloading". I still expect someone to catch one from some idiot doing something stupid. Seems like that's the place to go for the idjits.
This is the range where Klebold and Harris of the Columbine incident went to mess around with their sawed off shotguns and such. So, umm...yeah. Idjits indeed.

CoRoMo
July 20, 2009, 06:31 PM
A few near misses caused the park service to close a portion of Pawnee National Grassland to shooters.

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_12798846

Dr.Rob
July 20, 2009, 06:44 PM
I've been shot over in the grasslands antelope hunting. That's totally different than a stray fired at a prarie dog when you can SEE someone's house.

4 rules apply, even when you're in the middle of nowhere.

Lonestar49
July 20, 2009, 06:56 PM
As I said, it is tragic when anyone loses their life necessarily. But, it is a real shame that the negligent actions that led to this death will now probably impact the rest of the local shooting community!



...

Unfortunately, the grieving father has to put the_blame on something, other than the group there with his kid, or his kid, alone.

Supervision comes from within first and foremost. But, being a trash dump, in looks, beer cans, food wrappers, etc., etc., shows that one element of guns, and booze, can make for bad things to happen, in itself.

Not saying they had any to drink or that alcohol was a primary factor, but they need some kind of sign, with stated rules, enforced by drive-thru's by the local authority's, no different than our roads. For the very most part, we hardly see the LEO's but, only when we don't and are doing something wrong, dangerous, or suspicious, or just stupid, is usually when one does see them.

There is no "really right answer here" for this moment, only the fact that with one gun, let alone, many, with others, the common link will always be the weakest link in a chain of known & unknown, rules of safety and conduct, and poof, something bad occurs.

In reality, they had supervision, themselves, but someone failed to watch them self..

Self responsibility: a dying truth of, what used to be for most, is no more.

Choose your company well, especially, when associated with anything that is dangerous, unforgiving, of the smallest mistakes.

Sad,


Ls

larry_minn
July 20, 2009, 10:29 PM
so his kid gets killed because others in his group were idiots. So the fathers "solution" is to close the renge?

Sorry for his loss but if he feels this way the day after he finds out his son was killed he is a idiot.

feedthehogs
July 20, 2009, 10:43 PM
You can make all the rules you want but stupid and guns will always go together.

Or as the AD and ND folks like to legitimize their own darwin actions, its not a matter of if but when.

rondog
July 20, 2009, 10:58 PM
I consider the place nothing more than an "officially sanctioned Bubba Range". Not even worth the drive to scrounge for brass. Both times I was there, it was picked completely clean of all reloadable brass, nothing but the steel crap and shotgun shells by the jillions. Oh, and trash, lots of trash. If the road going in wasn't so rough and brutal, it would be even worse there.

coloradokevin
July 20, 2009, 11:33 PM
Well, I always liked the range due to its proximity to the Springs, and the beautiful natural setting (too bad the trash dump look takes away from that quite a bit).

I guess I don't really know what the solution to this problem is, but I can say that I imagine that the "problem" probably consists of less than 5% of all of the shooters who go there. Unfortunately our community has done a very poor job of policing ourselves, and the actions of the few idiots out there has led to the closure of probably at least twenty ranges that I was familiar with in my lifetime alone.

I like being able to go to a range where I don't need a membership, don't need to pay to be there, and can come and go as I please. I grew up doing this, and I appreciate the freedom that it provides. Sadly, unsupervised public ranges are a dying breed. It seems like some portion of today's generation of shooters can't be expected to behave in the same manner that shooters did in previous generations, and we are losing ranges quickly as a result.

I agree with the sentiment that this kid's father is an idiot. The loss of his son was a needless tragedy, but his misguided solution is to close the range, rather than hold his son's friends accountable for their actions!

GodGuns&Guitars
July 21, 2009, 04:50 PM
The range is now officially closed, was up there this morning. Forest Service was up there fencing it off and it will be closed until further notice. Not sure how much the "father" had to do with it. It was still a trash dump and in poor upkeep. Got caught by the local news and was asked to do an interview and declined to be on camera. At least at this time. Anyone want to be on camera about the situation?

CoRoMo
July 21, 2009, 05:16 PM
I've been shot over in the grasslands antelope hunting.

The shot flew over you?

or

You got shot, over in the grasslands.

I'm assuming the former. Did you just hear the bullet whiz by?

p.s.
I haven't been able to draw a pronghorn tag for unit 87 or 88. Must be fairly competitive for those tags.

Grey_Mana
July 21, 2009, 06:09 PM
I thought this was a supervised club, and now I am finding out that this place is a garbage dump, basically," he said. "If you don't have supervision in a place like that it is dangerous. It absolutely should be shut down." I feel exactly the same way about the United States Senate.

GodGuns&Guitars
July 21, 2009, 06:16 PM
There is an article about it on www.koaa.com for those that wish to read it. I declined an on camera interview. If someone wants their 15 seconds of fame you can be there at 5 for a live feed.

Zundfolge
July 21, 2009, 06:27 PM
Looks like the local anti gun folk FINALLY got their way.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/range-58832-shooting-forest.html

Rampart Range is closed (they say "temporarily" but barbed wire and concrete barricades don't say temporary to me).


This is the range where Klebold and Harris of the Columbine incident went to mess around with their sawed off shotguns and such. So, umm...yeah. Idjits indeed.
Uh, no. There are literally THOUSANDS of "unofficial ranges" on Forest Service land all over this state. Harris and Klebold didn't drive over an hour down to the springs (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=littleton+colorado&daddr=Colorado+Springs,+CO&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=38.963048,55.546875&ie=UTF8&z=9), they drove 15-20 minutes from their home.



Anyway, there's always been a lot of fuddish elitism from shooters around here about Rampart. Anyone that thinks this couldn't have happened on ANY range is sadly incorrect.

Since I finally got in at Frontier Sportsmen's Club (local private range) a couple years ago I haven't been back up to Rampart, but for as pro gun as this area is, there's really not a lot of ranges (Dragonman's is frankly no better than Rampart as far as idiots go, and I think its filthier) so this closure is really going to have a negative impact on the local shooting public (especially newbies). Yes there were the occasional idiots, but there were also LOTS of safe, decent folk who shot there.

Its a sad reminder of why we keep pounding people over the head with the 4 rules.

CoRoMo
July 22, 2009, 01:07 PM
I'm streaming KVOR 470AM.

The top-of-the-hour news stated that the range will be reopened soon. He gave a specific date, that I missed, but it was something like a week from Saturday.

FWIW

coloradokevin
July 25, 2009, 05:24 PM
I was without power for a few days due to the major hailstorm that hit my part of town... Just now saw this update. Sadly, it is exactly what I was expecting when I started this thread, I just didn't think it would happen so soon!

Rockwell1
July 25, 2009, 06:58 PM
I feel like an anti for saying this but rampart was unsafe. It had made some improvement the last time I was there but there were still people with no idea of range safety showing up and they weren’t going to listen to anyone asking them to practice range safety. The last time I was there a group (as has been stated before) showed up and just walked down to the line and started blasting one of them swept me finger on the trigger of a cocked semi auto. We left immediately.

I’m sorry but if we, as shooters, can’t police ourselves then yes Rampart needs to be closed

Pikes Peak gun club (Isaac Walton League) 6 miles east for town on HWY 94 and Frankville coal mine road

coloradokevin
July 25, 2009, 07:27 PM
I feel like an anti for saying this but rampart was unsafe. It had made some improvement the last time I was there but there were still people with no idea of range safety showing up and they weren’t going to listen to anyone asking them to practice range safety. The last time I was there a group (as has been stated before) showed up and just walked down to the line and started blasting one of them swept me finger on the trigger of a cocked semi auto. We left immediately.

I’m sorry but if we, as shooters, can’t police ourselves then yes Rampart needs to be closed

I'm not going to sit here and call you an "anti", but I do respectfully disagree with this opinion, even if the basis for your argument is valid.

My issue here is that we come down to the same problem that we do with anything that is gun-related. There are plenty of American citizens who feel that all guns should be banned, due to nothing more than the actions of a tiny percentage of people have proven that they are incapable of managing the responsibility that comes with gun ownership. As a result of the actions of a few idiots, we have all been forced into a position where we must constantly defend our rights... and it has been this way for as long as I can remember (I've been shooting about 25 years now).

Similarly, I have to disagree with the argument that "rampart was unsafe". There was nothing inherently wrong with Rampart. The issue here didn't concern the location or design of the range, the proximity to nearby houses, or anything else to do with the facility itself. This recent death happened due to nothing more than one person's reckless actions, just as it could at any other range facility in the country.

Personally, I've shot at expensive ranges, cheap ranges, high-tech ranges, and low-budget operations. I've supervised ranges, shot at unsupervised ranges, and shot at ranges where other people were supervising me. Idiots can show up anywhere, and ignorance can be dangerous/deadly in any setting! I'll concede your point that there tends to be a disproportionate number of idiots hanging out at unsupervised ranges, but I still don't categorically agree with closing these ranges!

Rather than closing these free facilities, I feel that we do need to do a better job of policing ourselves (just as you suggested), and we also need to be ready to involve local law enforcement when "self-correction" fails to solve the problem! I've shot at Rampart on days when everyone who was there was a qualified, capable, and responsible shooter. As I mentioned before, I've also seen the idiots around.

Still, where will we be able to enjoy shooting when all of the public facilities are gone? Many of the private ranges are expensive on a day-to-day basis, and many of the clubs have long waiting lists to join. Even if there were private facilities available, I still like the freedom that comes with being able to enjoy this pastime without having to join a club or pay an admission fee!

I don't believe that you are an "anti", Rockwell, I just simply don't believe that we'll be doing a service to the shooting community by eliminating another facility!


As an afterthought (since I hate to complain without providing my own suggestions), why couldn't the forest service work with local shooters to develop a volunteer range officer program? Volunteer rangers are a large part of the forest service these days, and I see them everywhere from visitor centers to trails. Why not develop a program of volunteers who could take on shifts supervising these ranges, without cost to the taxpayers or shooting community?

I would gladly volunteer my time at a nearby range, as would many of the other shooters I know... Heck, many of us already pitch in more than our fair share when it comes to cleaning and maintaining these facilities! And, as many of us who have shot at private clubs already know, volunteer range officers can often come from your own membership ranks; similarly, they could probably come from the ranks of shooters who use any other given facility, whether it is paid or fee-free!

In my opinion, a program as simple as this could solve 99% of our problems, without costing any of us a dime! With the estimated 40,000 shooters per year who use Rampart, I doubt it would be too hard to fill most shifts with a range officer! Moreover, even if every shift wasn't filled, I think the attitude at these facilities would greatly change when people begin to see that it is effectively supervised most of the time. As I said earlier in this post, we'll never eliminate the idiots... But, we can greatly mitigate the damage that they are able to do to our sport by booting them from range facilities as often as possible (or, perhaps, educating them before needing to boot them).

Rockwell1
July 25, 2009, 07:47 PM
Similarly, I have to disagree with the argument that "rampart was unsafe".
Semantics, I meant, “ Rampart was an unsafe place to shoot.” Although it occurs to me that there’s been one death up there since it opened

As an afterthought (since I hate to complain without providing my own suggestions), why couldn't the forest service work with local shooters to develop a volunteer range officer program?

What will you do when (not if) a carload of bangers shows up that doesn’t give a damn about your idea of range safety?
I agree that a supervised range beats closing it but there’s still some issues to deal with.

General Geoff
July 25, 2009, 07:49 PM
What will you do when (not if) a carload of bangers shows up that doesn’t give a damn about your idea of range safety?

If they don't heed to friendly advice (and are indeed not practicing safe gun handling), then just leave and call the police. Volunteering doesn't mean you have to risk your life.

GodGuns&Guitars
July 25, 2009, 08:15 PM
It was unsafe in my opinion. People drinking before and while there, small kids running around unsupervised and no hearing protection on and the place looked like a dump. That is no way to present to the public a shooting range or our mountains for those who were just driving by. The last time the range was cleaned up, it seems they decided to dump the junk and trash in a deep ravine on the other side of the road. I would shoot there if there were a range officer there, or they would make me the range officer and I'm well qualified to do it. I'd rather pay a few bucks a year for going to Izaak Walton and not have to worry about looking over my shoulder at who just drove up, and what kind of beer their drinking etc. New rules need to be established out there before they open it up again too. If you are going to shoot there, by God, pick up after yourself. If you don't and you trash it, don't come back. I love our mountains and the views, with out the trash. My two cents.

ruger700
July 25, 2009, 10:01 PM
?Rather than shutting it down, I would propose that someone step forward and apply for a special use permit to operate a recreational facility and charge people to use it.

Nowdays the Forest Service has money problems and this might be a solution to shutting it down. Shutting it down won't solve anything as people will still use it for whatever.

The FS is also going to avoid any kind of responsibility and most of the folks in leadership positions are college kids with enviromental degrees (not gun lovers)."

I totally agree with Hawmanl;

coloradokevin
July 25, 2009, 10:51 PM
Semantics, I meant, “ Rampart was an unsafe place to shoot.” Although it occurs to me that there’s been one death up there since it opened

Okay, I'll grant you that I'm not looking for an argument based on simple semantics here, so I hope you don't feel like I was trying to tear apart minor details in your last post!

I was merely pointing out that the threat at Rampart comes from the people using the range, and not because of any design flaws in the facility itself... Therefore, the threat at this range is the same as it could be at any other facility that the same public is allowed to access! As I mentioned before, I fully realize that free/unsupervised facilities do tend to attract a higher percentage of the "bad" crowd!

What will you do when (not if) a carload of bangers shows up that doesn’t give a damn about your idea of range safety?
I agree that a supervised range beats closing it but there’s still some issues to deal with.

This is an issue that a volunteer could have to deal with in any other capacity where they are expected to provide some guidance to the public, or hold some authority over a facility that is available to all citizens. In Denver's City Park there are unarmed "rangers" who patrol the park, and often come in contact with the local crowd of 'bangers. These rangers immediately contact the PD when things start to go sideways for them... The police then come and handle the incident. Obviously the bad crowd at a shooting range will be armed, but in that case so are the good guys!

A volunteer range officer doesn't need to be expected to forcibly subdue a violent criminal, rather they would be expected to provide guidance and safety instructions to an otherwise law-abiding crowd of shooters. To handle these tasks I'm talking about a system in which the R.O. would be clearly identified at the facility (uniform, or whatever), and rules would be posted that clearly explain that the range officer has authority over the facility while acting in that capacity! This alone would differentiate the person from any other shooter, and hopefully help them to carry a bit more weight when providing instructions (as opposed to just being the 'guy at the next bench').

If things started to get out of hand a range officer could call a cease fire... If the hypothetical 'bangers kept shooting agains the instructions of the R.O., then the R.O. could contact the police, record license plate numbers, and direct the law-abiding shooters on ceasing operations until the situation was resolved. But, in many other situations a range officer could still effectively help to keep the range safe! For example, the only death that ever occured at this range happened when a guy accidentally shot his friend last week (neither alcohol nor gangs appear to have been involved in this incident)!

As an aside, I've found that -on the whole- shooters are mostly law-abiding citizens, and many of them tend to be the types who aren't afraid to rise up against tyranny! I believe that if a range officer was being hassled by a group of bangers, they would likely find that they had some "backup" immediately available to them!

Still, I think that this idea could work, and would work, if properly implimented! If I lived closer to that facility these days, I'd gladly volunteer to take on such a role myself... and I imagine that there are a lot of other responsible shooters who would be similarly inclined!

GodGuns&Guitars
July 26, 2009, 12:25 AM
I won't say the range WON'T work, it just won't work the way it is being run right now. Now that there's been an unfortunate death there it has come under extreme scrutiny. There are meetings coming up in the future with concerned citizens, Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition, NRA reps and the Forest Service to see what needs to be done. Unfortunately the Forest Service is going to bite the big one on this deal if a law suit is filed. As the range was being run, it was just an accident waiting to happen and it did.

Lone_Gunman
July 26, 2009, 12:35 AM
Maybe it would be best if they did just close it down. It sounds like a trash dump, and people are not taking care of it. It is publicly owned land, that means it belongs to all of us, so if people are using it as a dump, that needs to be stopped.

GodGuns&Guitars
July 26, 2009, 12:48 AM
Possibly Monday I can get up that way for a few pictures if they will let you do more than drive by. Last I heard they were going to post leo's in and around the area for a while to keep people out. I'll find out and follow up on here.

dacavasi
July 26, 2009, 01:42 AM
I'm sorry, but I'm right now reviewing my NRA Range Safety Officer manual; I firmly believe that, outside of private property, there should never be as "unsupervised range"; Yeah, it's fine to have your own 'back 40', but when the public is involved, there NEEDS to be some level of supervised organization and safety protocol.

Rockwell1
July 26, 2009, 01:36 PM
I can’t speak for other ranges; I can speak for Rampart. It is a dump. I’m sorry but it’s nasty up there shooters have failed to police themselves and it shows. There was no method of enforcing any type of safety rules in place other than peer pressure and a lot of people simply ignored that. An unsupervised range is not (IMO) the place to try to enforce range discipline with an armed stranger who doesn’t give a damn about what you have to say. So when the safe shooters do the smart thing and leave, the range is left to the worst possible examples of the shooting sports around. People have been trying for years to get Rampart closed because it was an eyesore, as well as, because of the bubbas. It was only a matter of time.
It’s also worth noting that the range itself wasn’t even separated from the road by a berm.

I’m sorry but as long as Rampart is predominately untrained, novice shooters, bangers and bubbas, it needed to be closed until some type of supervision was in place. Let the NRA take it over and start charging a nominal (5.00 bucks) fee to use it and use the funds for range upkeep

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