Machine Gun Fire Suspended on Great Lakes

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its machine-gun exercises on the Great Lakes. The coast guard plans to set up 34 live-fire zones in the Great Lakes so its crews can practice shooting machine guns mounted on their boats. The guns can shoot up to 600 rounds per minute. The Coast Guard has already conducted some live-fire exercises and began holding public hearings Monday in order to ask residents near the lakes what they think are the best proposed locations for the ranges. Officials siad no coast guard machine-gun exercises will take place until the public hearings are over on Nov. 13. A spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard, said the firing ranges are allowed under a 2004 "understanding" reached between the two countries in response to concerns about terrorism and border control. Politicians representing Canadian cities bordering the Great Lakes have complained that they cannot participate in the public hearings, even though they are near some of the proposed firing ranges.

A U.S. study said the bullets would not harm the freshwater ecosystems. Prior to the start of the coast guard exercises in January, guns have not been fired on the Great Lakes since the war of 1812, the Coast Guard said. U.S. Coast Guard officials said Canadians will have plenty of notice before the firing ranges begin operating. source: CBC

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