U.S. Capitol temporarily shuts its police gun firing range

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 03, 2016 5:06 PM

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Construction projects often start with high hopes, only to degenerate into anxiety-filled disappointments. It seems even the U.S. Capitol Police are not immune.

The law enforcement agency has a brand new firing range in the basement of one of the sprawling House of Representatives' office buildings adjacent to the U.S. Capitol.

But it has been temporarily closed due to "operational concerns," according to a statement issued on Wednesday by the department.

"The range designers are looking at operational design concerns, so it is the design of the range," spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson told Reuters. She declined to elaborate.

Capitol Police and other agencies use the range for training and for periodic certification of weapons skills.

Since 1828, the force has been responsible for protecting members of Congress, luminaries and tourists visiting the Capitol complex, and even lowly journalists embedded there.

Last year, a gun problem of a different sort plagued Capitol Police following reports that on three occasions officers inadvertently left their guns in Capitol public restrooms.

"We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom," Chief Kim Dine was quoted telling Congress at the time.

There was no word yet on how long the firing range will be shuttered.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Matthew Lewis)