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How The Gun Range is fixing its lead problem

A gun range in Killeen was found to have "elevated lead levels within the building." Here's what that means, what to do if you were in the range and how The Gun Range is fixing those problems.
Credit: Jose A. Bernat Bacete

KILLEEN, Texas — The Bell County Public Health District recently issued a health alert for The Gun Range in Killeen, because of high levels of lead found in the building including on surfaces in the area where customers buy merchandise and in the air behind the firing lines.

Lead poisoning can cause the following:

People exposed to high levels of lead concentration are at risk of lead poisoning. High enough levels can damage the brain, nerves, red blood cells, kidneys and reproductive systems.

Symptoms of lead poisoning:

Symptoms of lead poisoning include cramping, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, black or tarry stool, headache, confusion, stupor, sudden decrease in amount of urine and jaundice. Anyone who visited the range and has been experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor and have their lead levels tested as quickly as possible.

In a Facebook post, the range said it was cooperating with investigation and constantly working to improve its facility and procedures.

According to Jack Greenwell, a gunsmith at The Gun Range, OSHA never sent the range an order to shut down, but they close their doors for a few days to finish repairs on their air filtration and for maintenance.

How lead became a problem

Greenwell said their air filtration system had an airflow issue that was causing some of the air from the range to leak into the merchandise area.

What The Gun Range is doing

To prevent high levels of lead, Greenwell said there is a separate filtration system in the range that works to push air with lead traces out and requires all ammunition shot at the range to be jacketed.

The 4-month-old business will be closed Monday for its first quarterly maintenance.

OSHA is still inspecting The Gun Range. Bell County Public Health District said it can't answer questions because the investigation is ongoing.

How to minimize your risk of lead poisoning

Any gun range is at risk of having increased lead concentrations and there are steps anyone who visits a range should take to minimize their risk of lead poisoning, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

  • Avoid eating, drinking or using tobacco products in shooting ranges as lead particles can settle on these surfaces and be ingested.
  • Only shoot jacketed or non-lead ammunition to prevent the amount of airborne lead particles.
  • Always wash hands before eating, drinking, smoking or touching face after using a gun in a range.
  • Shower after and keep a change of clothes to switch into after leaving the range to prevent bringing particles home.

For more information, contact the OSHA office in Austin at (512)-374-0271.