BEND, OR -- The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association has been forced to shut down its public range, east of Bend, due to safety issues. COSSA President Sharon Preston says the public range has always had some vandalism, but incidents have escalated in recent months. "We’ve had a lot of beer bottles in the trash cans, and actually bullet holes coming from the backside of our Buffalo range and from the backside, actually, of the bathrooms. They’re shooting up the bathrooms, for whatever reason." She tells KBND News, "For safety reasons, because all those bullets are headed for the highway or for the membership range, we’ve had to temporarily close it."
Preston says COSSA's lease agreement with the BLM said the nonprofit group would keep the land open to the public 24/7. But that changed, she says, after the vandalism was discovered. "We finally had the BLM out there and showed them the dangerous direction that these bullets are being fired, and they finally agreed with us that it would be prudent to close that public range, because there’s no oversight there, at all."
She says the range will remain closed until a more permanent solution is found. "We’re looking for volunteers who want to run three-hour shifts out there to kind of oversee it. It’s just become a dangerous situation and people are not being responsible."