Over the last 2 years, I’ve been doing a lot of research on gun ranges, how to make one, and what challenges they face. Right now the biggest problem that our shooting industry faces, particularly here in the San Francisco Bay Area, is noise pollution disturbing the neighbors, leading to ranges getting shut down. In second place is the issue of lead pollution, way down in 3rd place, injuries and accidental deaths related to range operation.
The only way I can see to solve these problems as our cities grow, and the demand for gun ranges rise while the shortage of suitable land drives supply down is to address all 3 issues proactively. What is the solution?
1. Integral sound suppression on all production firearms, just as we have integral sound suppression on all production automobiles. The technology is stone age simple, we just need to unf*ck our legislative process and do it. Let’s keep a close eye on the Hearing Protection Act, and work together to get that passed, meanwhile educate yourselves and your friends about the common sense benefit of quiet guns.
SilencerCo is doing fantastic work with the Maxim 9, NFA item dealers all around the country are popping up to educate the public and help simplify the process for the common man (woman) to obtain previously unobtainable sound suppressors.
2. Lead and toxic heavy metal free projectiles and primers on all production ammunition. Already the industry is making fantastic inroads in this direction. The key will be driving cost down through innovation such that lead free ammo can compete against low priced cast lead.
For example, with the up and coming 300 Blackout cartridge, finding economical practice ammo is tricky. Just recently, I’ve discovered that ordering in bulk Polycase Frangible projectiles, or Bite the Bullet eco-frangible ammunition is both cheaper and safer to train with that scrounging traditional .308 projectiles. Just as developing countries today are skipping the land-line era, moving straight to the smart phone, and isolated communities are skipping the fossil fuel grid generation era, moving straight to off grid distributed wind and solar power, so too will the developing firearm industry skip the lead, noise, and ricochet era, and go straight to non-toxic, suppressed, and frangible ammunition.
3. Improved gun safety training for gun safety trainers, increase our use of frangible bullets on steel targets with no danger of ricochet or pass-through, and an increase in using Non Lethal Training Ammunition for training and practice, especially in urban areas. The knowledge is out there, the products are out there. We just have to do it.
For example, to correct the deficiencies with the NRA’s basic 3 gun safety rules, which have neither good logic nor correct grammar, leading to millions of gun owners who have memorized those rules and are still confused about safety, I simply apply logic, proper English grammar, and existing gun safety best practice to more effectively teach gun safety to the masses.
None of these solutions are rocket science, but we have to be able to see and recognize our errors first before we can address them.