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OK gun range owner insists howitzer fired safely after shell blasts house 3 miles away

By Travis Gettys
Thursday, June 26, 2014 13:24 EDT
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Mike Friend
 
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An Oklahoma home was damaged last weekend by a howitzer artillery shell fired from a gun range three miles away.

The artillery shell – which is 14.5 inches long and 3.5 inches across – crashed through an exterior wall, hit the ceiling, and damaged another wall while homeowner Gene Kelley and his wife were in another room, reported KOAM-TV.

“It’s unbelievable,” Kelley said. “Unless you were here to see it or see the pictures I’ve got, you would not believe how huge this thing is.”

No one was hurt, but Kelley said the damage could have been worse if the shell had not hit a tree limb and then the ground before striking his Wyandotte house.

The shell was fired from a 105mm howitzer at the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot and Trade Show, but the gun range owner insists the historic weapon was safely fired by professionals in a downward projection.

“It was not on a level plane, but on a downward trend, pointed downhill in the bottom of a valley,” said Mike Friend, Owner of Fast Machine Gun Shoot. “For that thing to rise and go far northwest of the range, it’s just unheard of.”

Both Friend and Kelley described the incident as a “freak accident.”

“As far as the safety end of everything, we drill every one of our shooters before it ever begins,” Friend said. “We have 30-45 minute drill.”

The gun range owner has agreed to pay for any damages from the accidental artillery shooting, but Kelley questions whether such weapons should be legal to use.

“The people that bring these type of weapons need to think about whether it is really safe and an appropriate area to take a weapon of that magnitude and shoot it,” Kelley said.

Watch this video report posted online by KOAM-TV:

KOAM TV 7

 
 
 
 
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