Perhaps there was more to Obama’s comment about working on gun control under the radar than I first thought. Fast and Furious has blown wide open and evidence shows that the operation was, at least in part, about advancing gun control. Now we have a slightly stranger story about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) moving in to attack a gun range. What’s interesting is how desperate the charges appear to be:
Among the “violations” noted in the citation: An instructor on the range wore Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs, which allegedly provided insufficient noise protection. (p. 11). I’ve never used the Howard Leight brand, but I have used electronic muffs from Peltor and from Dillon. Electronic muffs are the perfect choice for hearing protection and range safety, especially for an instructor. When the muffs detect a sound spike, they instantly shut down, reducing the noise to a comfortable level. Unlike passive muffs, electronic muffs do not block sound at other times, so it is much easier for the instructor to communicate with students, and to hear everything going on in the area. Indeed, normal sounds (but not gunshots) can be amplified by the muff’s electronics, if the user so chooses.
I have these exact same ear muffs, as do several people I know. They are sufficient for me and I have rather sensitive hearing so I see no grounds for claiming they offer insufficient protection. The charges get even more silly from there:
Here’s another violation: “A gun range instructor conducting shooter instruction was observed reaching down on the range floor to collect a loaded handgun cartridge. The employee was not wearing any hand protection such as gloves. The gun range floor was contaminated with lead. The gun had misfired and it required manual cycling of the barrel slide to remove the defective round which then fell on the gun range floor.” (p. 22).
Umm… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up loaded cartridges from the ground without any hand protection. Unless you’re dealing with unjacketed rounds and pick up the cartridge by the bullet there is no chance of lead exposure. If the round does go off (let’s say due to a hang fire) gloves aren’t going to protect your hand from the shrapnell. The idiocy of this violation can’t even begin to be explained.
What’s more worrisome is the fact OSHA has the ability to find a workplace because of employee actions. OSHA should have no way in what an individual does. If an individual is stupid enough not to wear hearing protection (or is deaf and not in need of hearing protection) that’s their business. Even though most employers have restrictions against such actions there isn’t always a boss to watch the employees so they can violate posted safety rules, it shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of employers when that happens.
With “violations” like those mentioned above it would be a trivial matter for OSHA to shutdown any firing range. Many ranges aren’t able to eat a $111,000 fine and a return by the OSHA thug would certainly net the exact same “violations” as they are unavoidable (especially the “violation” of picking up an unfired cartridge). Of course having such actions be finable offenses is great if your goal is to shut a range down, which I’m betting is part of the motivation behind the current set of charges.