The Bureau of Land Management is considering shutting down a stretch of land near Buckeye, AZ following the fatal shooting of a woman by a stray bullet recently. While the land has a long history of being used for shooting, there have reportedly been several near misses previous to the tragic death of Kami Gilstrap on Sunday.
While they haven’t reached a decision, they’re putting in serious consideration of restricting firearm use in the area.
Federal officials are considering a temporary shutdown of the recreational shooting area near Buckeye where Kami Gilstrap was killed by a stray bullet on Sunday.
Amber Cargile, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office, said Wednesday the details of a temporary closure still are in the works. Officials also will assess future oversight of the area.
“We are pursuing a temporary closure of the area to ensure public safety and address damage to telecommunications infrastructure,” Cargile said. “Ultimately, we will make a determination on management of the Miller Road site based on the facts of the investigation, the safety of public-land users, and the impacts to the local community.”
The tragedy added to mounting problems with the site, which, according to Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall, include recent arrests related to stolen weapons, widespread disregard of gun-safety practices, and shooters targeting an above the ground municipal utility line causing service interruption 40 times last year in north Buckeye.
This is what happens when people don’t follow basic, common sense, best practices for firearm safety. They think they have an infinite amount of space and can do what they want. They don’t know their target and what’s beyond it, and as a result, they make life difficult for everyone else.
And that was without the senseless death of a young woman due to what some might call an accident, but really is more of a case of negligence.
Frankly, if shooters in the area are barred from using the land, I can understand where the bureau is coming from. At least in this case.
While many shooters who did nothing wrong will likely be impacted by this, it doesn’t negate the damage an inconsiderate shooter has done. People can’t look at an individual and know who is the responsible shooter and who isn’t. Every irresponsible action by a shooter reflects on each and every one of us. It makes it far more likely that things like this will happen in the future.
Policing our own is difficult in a place like this as well. While we can tell someone they’re doing something unsafe, no one has any authority to actually enforce universally acknowledged safety rules on others. All anyone can do is speak up. They can’t make the other person listen or leave, unlike at a formal range.
Now, I’m not saying everyone has to use a formal range by any stretch of the imagination. That often comes with burdens and problems all on its own. There’s something liberating about just shooting on a patch of land with something to serve as a backstop.
But that doesn’t mean people get to be jacka**es about shooting while there, either.