Hibbing elementary school mulls future of gun range

PHOTO: Kofi Smacker, Flickr CC

PHOTO: Kofi Smacker, Flickr CC

In one of those “only on the Iron Range” headlines, today’s top banner on the Hibbing Daily Tribune reads “Lincoln Elementary gun range may close.”

The story isn’t that there’s a gun range in an elementary school. It’s been there for 60 years, and other Range schools have gun ranges too. The story is that after all that time, contemporary concerns about mixing schools and guns have called into question the wisdom of the arrangement.

As it stands, the district recently restricted access to the gun range, which was only open to members of the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club.

From the Tony Potter story in today’s Hibbing Daily Tribune:

The facility can only be used once school-organized activities and events have concluded on Wednesdays, or when inclement weather prevents gun safety classes from being held outdoors.

“People are more sensitive than they used to be,” said [Hibbing Superintendent Brad] Johnson. “There are concerns from people who are here for activities or events from other towns who are seeing people going down to the rifle range. It’s causing lots of questions and concerns.”

Johnson said the best way to address the concerns is to limit access to the gun range when activities are scheduled, adding there are also concerns about identification of gun club members.

Only members of the Hibbing Rifle and Pistol Club are permitted to use the gun range. Prior to being closed, the gun range hours were 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We talked about moving the time back that the facility can be used or limiting hours to when there aren’t school activities,” Johnson said. “That would limit the gun club to later Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is a big change. If we can find a way to coexist, this wouldn’t be a problem, but it doesn’t appear that’ll happen very often.”

The Hibbing School Board appointed a committee to look into the matter. Board members offered a smattering of opinions at the recent meeting, ranging from keeping access to the gun range for its original purpose of teaching gun safety, to closing the range altogether.


  1. Independant says

    What a shame.

  2. Kelly Perfetti says

    This would be a shame. Why not key cards for the members when entering. No key card no entry. Teaching gun saftey should be a priority of educating. I don’t see news reports of gun raging maniacs coming from a gun range. Times are changing and that is why people need to respect what a gun can do. My dad was a member of this club and this is where we were taught respect for a firearm and respect for people. I hope they choose not to close it would be a disservice to people.

  3. Independant says

    Well said Kelly

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