BOURNE -- Camp Edwards on the Massachusetts Military Reservation is one of two sites being considered for new firing ranges needed to train Coast Guard anti terrorist units, officials say.
The "shoot houses," which would be configured to look like the inside of a ship or building, would be used by elite Coast Guard teams to train for small-arms combat in close quarters .
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Coast Guard expanded its anti terrorism and port security duties, which included the creation of 12 maritime safety and security teams.
Coast Guard members from around the region already use the base to train, and a new firing range would add to that mission, said John Kondratowicz, commanding officer of the Boston team.
"It trains advanced SWAT teams -- tactical teams, not your everyday law enforcement guys -- to go into spaces and rid the space of any threat," said Kondratowicz.
The Massachusetts Military Reservation and a Coast Guard training area in Miami are in the running to host the ranges, Coast Guard officials said.
The shoot houses would fit into a plan to turn Camp Edwards into a regional antiterrorism training center that could be used by a variety of military and nonmilitary agencies.
There have been concerns about the environmental impact of former shooting ranges on the sprawling base, but any new facility for the Coast Guard will meet high environmental standards. The Coast Guard, Massachusetts National Guard, and state range specialists are working together to determine what kind of green technology can be used. One possibility is the use of copper bullets, instead of traditional lead ammunition.
The Coast Guard already operates a small indoor firing range at the reservation. It gets frequent use, especially since all outdoor small-arms firing has been suspended because of environmental concerns.
The new proposal "is in keeping with the mission and the vision of the base," said Mark Forest, an aide to US Representative William D. Delahunt, a Quincy Democrat whose district includes the base.