When Minnesota’s Lincoln Elementary School was built in 1956, its designers included a gun range in the basement. The range has been in continuous use by students and the local community for almost 60 years — right until unidentified persons raised “safety concerns.” At that point, School Superintendent Brad Johnson closed the basement range and appointed a committee to “investigate.” hibbingmn.com:
“People are more sensitive than they used to be,” said 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.”
Concerns about range safety? Not likely.
Director Jeff Polcher noted that there have been zero incidents at the gun range in its nearly 60-year existence. He said requiring a safety officer to be in charge of granting access to the gun range could resolve some of the issues.
“Now someone raised a stink literally two weeks ago and now we’re talking about shutting down a landmark of the school district,” Polcher said. “No one has never been injured down there. The perception that guns are harmful is wrong. Guns are a way of life up here.”
At a School Board meeting, Johnson pointed out that “members [of the gun range are] using primary school entrances, which result in them walking through the school with their guns, and that the preferred entrance — through the mudroom — leads gun range users by the locker rooms.” Superintendent Johnson sounds more than a little fed-up with the whole situation.
“We’re not closing the gun range . . . No one said we’re shutting it down and I’m sick of hearing it. As the superintendent, I’m trying to find an amicable solution.”
Whether the narrative promoting “gun free zones” prevails in Hibbing remains to be seen. Watch this space.