DLNR to help get gun ranges

  • A shooter fires a rifle at Manuka State Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Shotgun shells litter Manuka State Park in South Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
  • Remnants of shooting practice are visable at Manuka State Park in South Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A shooter runs through a home made course at Mauka State Park. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Shotgun shells litter Manuka State Park in South Kona. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A shooter runs through a homemade course at Manuka State Park.

  • Shooters run through a homemade course at Manuka State Park.

HILO — Long-awaited shooting ranges for the Big Island could take some incremental steps forward, the county Game Management Advisory Commission learned Monday evening.

Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said two areas traditionally used for target practice, the Manuka Natural Area Reserve in South Kona and mauka of the 16-mile marker on Saddle Road, could be reassigned as shooting ranges under current state law.


Robert Farrell, DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, said the Saddle Road project could come up before the Board of Land and Natural Resources as early as Feb. 23.

“We’ve identified a couple of areas that are good candidates for a public shooting range,” Farrell said, noting the areas have already become impromptu gun ranges. One advantage, he said, would be the ability to keep the areas cleaner than they now are.

The goal, Farrell said, is to have at minimum a shooting range on each side of the island. The state still has some work to do at Manuka, however, since it is designated a natural area reserve.

“That may or may not affect how we are able to move forward with that particular site and in addition, I need to do a little bit more research on the land ownership and how it came into DLNR’s possession,” Farrell said. “It may be we have to delay that site a little until we complete the research. But I’m hoping we can also designate that site as well, as it’s already being used.”

The public’s quest for a range to sight their weapons, for hunter education and to practice, has sometimes runs afoul of the law. Farrell described his experience at mile marker 16 as a former DOCARE conservation officer on the Big Island.

“The shooters who were up there for target practice were being held to hunting rules. … The officers were writing tickets for people discharging a .22 (caliber rifle) and actually seizing the firearm. I didn’t agree with that approach,” Farrell described his experience. “We found out there was really no legal place for these folks who wanted to shoot.”

But Farrell said DLNR has the authority to designate gun ranges and to strike agreements with gun clubs and other groups to operate such facilities.

Commissioners had a lot of questions about who would run a shooting range, how it would factor in with hunting also going on at sites, and whether the sites would be policed.

“Is it going to be just self-ran, kind of how it is now?” asked Commissioner Willy-Joe Camera. “Do people just go there and do their own thing, or will there be staff there?”

All those details can be worked out in the rule-making process, Farrell said.

The County Council in August unanimously passed a resolution that gave the commission the go-ahead to begin the process of locating potential sites, finding funding and putting together public and private partners. The county received more than 100 letters of support for the plan.

Pittman-Robertson funds, which come from a tax on firearms and ammunition, and other grants might be available to help finance the project, said Commission Chairman Tom Lodge.


DLNR First Deputy Robert Masuda called the project “a work in progress.”

“It’s our attempt, as feeble as it may seem at this point, to move the ball forward,” Masuda said, “and working in conjunction with the local hunting and shooting community, come up collaboratively with a way of allowing people to go up and sight-in and do things legally, rather than have people do things illegally.”

  1. Big ideas February 1, 2018 6:49 am

    FINALLY some movement on a needed facility!

    Get the NRA involved to run gun safety courses.

  2. TaroGuy February 1, 2018 8:35 am

    If DLNR are going to designate these sites as gun ranges it should build out the land as a proper gun range with adequate back stops, gun rests and any other safety features needed at a gun range. And they should add toilet facilities. Maybe the NRA can kick in some cash to make the ranges happen.

    As far as the comment about having the state involved will keep the sites clean, that is a bit of a joke. Neither the state nor the county have demonstrated the ability to keep many of their current facilities clean.

  3. qui bono February 1, 2018 10:22 am

    GMAC , longtime, chair Tom Lodge may want to “focus” on getting meeting minutes posted so the public can know what the committee is up to.

  4. antifaHI February 1, 2018 12:50 pm

    NO gun private ranges on our island! Get one for cops and hunters, but not for those crazy paranoid gun-fakas. Soon their kids will bring the guns into schools, the crazies bring them on beaches, concerts and parades, to hospitals and post offices.

    1. KonaLife February 1, 2018 2:16 pm

      What an irrational, ill-informed comment. Gun ranges do not promote unsafe gun use; in fact, they promote the opposite–responsible care and use of firearms.

      1. Pest Outwest February 1, 2018 2:31 pm

        Absolutely, you need practice, and unlike antifa criminals, gun owners are the safest, most law abiding citizens in this country.

        1. qui bono February 1, 2018 6:27 pm


      2. antifaHI February 3, 2018 7:47 am

        Gun ranges promote guns. Not safety, not peace, not conflict solutions, not responsibility. They promote intentional death and murder. F..k the NRA and then some.

        1. KonaLife February 3, 2018 1:29 pm

          Again, you have created a reality in your mind that is not supported by the facts of gun ownership in America. Gun ownership rates have gone up 50% the past ten years. Gun-related murders (and all crime for that matter) have decreased dramatically in the past ten years. The correlation is negative. Granted correlation is not causation. I get it that you don’t like guns (many people don’t and that’s there right), but how can you continue to deny the empirical data?

          1. DoomOnYou February 3, 2018 2:33 pm

            A bit humorous that a person so terrified of firearm owners and what she claims they want to do, continually insults them. Not too bright.

          2. antifaHI February 4, 2018 8:57 am

            Because the empirical data you use is cherry picked. Guns kill because they are made for this specific purpose. The UK and Australia’s anti gun measures have proven that beyond any doubt. And used for this specific purpose. You push for more guns and hence more gun victims with this fear mongering NRA propaganda.

    2. KonaLife February 1, 2018 3:39 pm

      Do you find it the least bit ironic that you have claimed the name of a group known for hiding their faces and wearing black hoodies as they violently “protest’ other who are exercising their First Amendment rights? Seems to me that your group is more of a threat to schools, concerts, parades, hospitals and post offices.

      What you do need to figure out is that gun ownership nationally and Hawaii is up over 50% the past ten years and the number of violent crimes is in the U.S. has gone down dramatically. Basic math tells you that the only correlation between gun ownership and violent crime is a negative correlation (one goes up, the other goes down).

      In 2015, there were 22,000 gun registration (10,000 HI Country), yet we’ve seen no increase in gun-related murders. We typically have about 5 murders by gun in all of Hawaii a year and about 30 homicides (25 by non-gun methods). The murder by gun numbers have been very consistent (very low) despite a huge increase in the number of firearms in HI.

      So, would I want a gun owner as a neighbor or some self-righteous person in a black hoodie and a face covering that belongs to a group with a history of rioting and violence? Easy answer.

      1. NevahHappen February 1, 2018 3:52 pm

        Good old pudgy Rebecca and her obsessive hate. Seems to have a lot of fear for some reason.

        What is this Rebecca, you fourth or fifth sock puppet”

        Harvest Ice plant Dope
        You even used your name a few years ago

  5. paul February 1, 2018 6:04 pm

    yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss…please….and soon I hope

  6. paul February 1, 2018 6:05 pm

    I hope this range is open when I move there in a year or so…and I am bringing ALL my guns with me…mahalo

  7. Ken Heinemann March 9, 2018 5:56 pm

    Can someone tell me where the Manuka range is? What mile marker….mahaloz!

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