'It's got to stop'

A few days after a bullet pierced a home in Olive Township, neighbors in the mostly rural Ottawa County community say they want to see some changes.
Alex Doty
Apr 5, 2013

“It has happened more than once,” said Pam Vander Zwaag, who lives near the Olive Township State Game Area. “We’re getting familiar with the sound of the guns.”

Vander Zwaag and other residents have reported that their properties have been struck by stray bullets fired from the 247-acre state game area. She noted that her home below the bathroom window, as well as her mother's old house, have also been hit by stray bullets.

“We have a fairly new pole barn that we put up in 2008, and it has a hole in it,” Vander Zwaag said.

The latest incident was Tuesday night when Ruth and Bernard Luurtsma’s home in the 11000 block of Port Sheldon Road was struck by a stray bullet.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies were sent to the game area Tuesday night and they found a Holland Township man in his late 20s sighting a gun there. It is believed that the gun — a Russian-made 7.62-size rifle — was responsible for putting a bullet in the wall of the Luurtsmas' family room, passing about 2 feet above Ruth’s head as she rested on the couch.

“It’s not a safe situation, that’s where I am coming from, and it’s got to stop,” Bernard Luurtsma said Thursday afternoon.

Luurtsma said he wants to see changes made at the state game area in order to prevent further incidents.

“To allow them to shoot without a big berm there or something is unsafe," he said. "It’s all about safety. I love guns and all that stuff, too, but you’ve got to do it in a safe manner.”

Olive Township officials say they are aware of the incident and are in the process of seeing what can be done about it. Township Supervisor Todd Wolters said while they don't want hunting eliminated from the state game area, he doesn’t think it is the place to fire long rifles.

“The problem is, how do you differentiate it and how do you contain it?” he posed.

Wolters said the township has been tracking similar incidents at the game area for the past year, and that changes are needed to ensure the safety of township residents.

"There is going to have to be some changes here,” he said. "We’re going to work through it with the residents and the state.”

Luurtsma said common sense should dictate that people shouldn't be firing guns in the game area woods.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

Wingmaster

"The problem is, how do you differentiate it and how do you contain it?” he posed. Hello, a rifle and shotgun are two different types of weapons. You cannot hunt with a rifle in this zone! Why allow target practice without a berm or effective backstop. Set up a designated range area to shoot the rifles. Very easy fixable situation unless the situation wants to be used to whip up opposition to guns. The title of this piece "It's gotta stop" demonstrates my above point.

Your right, the GHT has "gotta stop" sensationalizing this stuff! Jeez.

Back to the Wall

Rifles can be used for hunting in the south zone. Before coming on like a freight train, get your facts straight. The violation here was not being sure of the target and what was beyond, which in this case, may have had grave results. Rather than misquoting irrelevant statutes, we need to address the real problem - a lack of proper firearm training in the schools.

stopblockingmya...

Once again Wingmaster gets served!

Wingmaster

http://www.michigan.gov/mobi/dnr...

We have these rules in affect during fall hunting season. Do bullets fly differently during off season.

By the way we already have training called hunter safety. I'm all for having that being a part of school curriculum but I'm sure the left would scream about that.

Wingmaster

http://www.michigan.gov/mobi/dnr...

We have these rules in affect during fall hunting season. Do bullets fly differently during off season.

By the way we already have training called hunter safety. I'm all for having that being a part of school curriculum but I'm sure the left would scream about that.

uniondude

You tell em wingmaster...you are 100% right on....been this way for a long long time...as soon as the shooter stated he was using that type of rifle, it should have been taken and him taken to jail awaiting a stiff fine. It's just that type of IDIOT that will spoil it for the rest of us that know the rules..as far as other post if you are stating a 22 rim fire or muzzleloader as a rifle for hunting in southern Zone then you are right also. A center fire rifle is not allowed for hunting in southern zone. If you can prove me different then I apologize, but I think you will have a hard time doing that.

1976westy

I know it is different for every city but I think you can target shoot any type of rifle or shotgun or handgun. The zones are for hunting only.

"Centerfire or rimfire rifles may be used Dec. 1-Nov. 9 in the Shotgun Zone during the open season for all species except no rifles may be used for deer, turkeys and migratory game birds."

"In the shotgun zone, all hunters afield from Nov. 15-30, and all deer hunters in this zone during other deer seasons, must abide by the following firearm restrictions or use a crossbow or a bow and arrow. Legal firearms are as follows:

A shotgun may have a smooth or rifled barrel and may be of any gauge.
A muzzleloading rifle or black powder handgun must be loaded with black powder or a commercially manufactured black powder substitute.
A conventional (smokeless powder) handgun must be .35 caliber or larger and loaded with straight-walled cartridges and may be single- or multiple-shot but cannot exceed a maximum capacity of nine rounds in the barrel and magazine combined."

Straight from the DNR site. http://michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7...

Wingmaster

So to tidy this up. There is a restriction on rifle use during the hunting season because of safety reasons. Why is it NOT a restriction after the hunting season? These rounds will fly the same distance out of season as they do in season..duh! I'm in unfamiliar area arguing for a restriction on gun use but if safety is a concern in certain areas, a reasonable rule should be looked at and considered.

This area needs a berm set up if it does not have one and restrict rifles to that range. Everybody is happy and nobody has to worry about bullets "whizzing" around in their neighborhood.

Back to the Wall

Oops. Reading is fundamental. The rifle restrictions ony apply for one month. During DEER season. There are hunting seasons open year round. Many of those are appropriate for rifle use. Heck, if I want to hunt coyote with a .470 nitro express, I'm legal. Back off.

What happened here is a simple case of stupidity. It shots be prosecuted if the prosecutor has grounds. It is not another opportunity to toss around platitudes toward banning legal activity.
Prosecute the stupid. Prosecute them hard.
Leave the rest of us to our responsible behavior.

Wingmastre, before you propose banning legal activities at state game areas, look up the history of the Pittman Robinson act. Discover who paid for those areas. Don't run me off land I paid for because some idjit can't shoot. He's the criminal, not the rest of us.

Wingmaster

Dude, what's your problem. We are on the same page when it comes to free use of guns in the pursuit of the sport whatever that maybe. You have been trying to pick a fight with me over this for some reason. Better back your freight train up before I blow up your tracks. There is a potential problem with the guy behind the gun AND the range in which he is trying to target shoot the gun. I never said ban on all state game areas but said a reasonable rule which would restrict TARGET practicing against a berm that would stop bullets, ie in this area. Better open your eyes while your reading so you can keep up with the train of thought, you just might get the whole story and learn something. There IS a restriction on the use of rifles in this area during hunting season because of safety concerns with the range of the rifle and the amount of people using them in populated areas. Rather then let every idiot with a rifle shoot at pop cans against a tree, why not use some of that money we poor into the sport to set up safe areas in these areas for people to shoot SAFELY. Many people come to the shooting sport without hunter safety education because they don't hunt but enjoy shooting. Your narrow minded approach to safety and the shooting sports is endangering YOUR free use of guns. Wake up and pull your head out, if bullets are ending up into somebody's house or in a neighborhood there is a problem. I'm not lining up behind an idiot that doesn't know how to properly use a gun just because he likes guns. You want to go shoot 'yotes with your rifle, go for it, its legal and you most likely have had hunter safety instruction and understand the range of your rifle and the safety of shooting at your intended target. You want to protect the shooting sports better think about all angles of the sport. All you need is some idiot putting a bullet into some kid playing in a yard to blow up in the press because we couldn't look at safe areas for this type of shooting. I'll leave it at that before I put your back thru the wall!

Back to the Wall

Just drop it. You don't need to threaten me. It's useless. The issue isn't the rifle. The issue is the dingbat who let rounds fly wide and high.

When you post wrong and misleading information, like you have three times in this thread alone, and if I have some free time, I'll be calling you on it. I don't know you, I have no urge to fight with you, but after three tries, you are still spewing nonsense. We may be on the same team, but your ignorance is dragging us all down. Now your bullying, posturing and threats are driving you further toward the margin.

Why is it so hard for you to let this fool fall? What do you have invested that makes you want to deflect his responsibility? He lost his opportunity. Why are you blaming the location and trying to solve a nonexistent problem by throwing money around?

This clown didn't "come to the shooting sports". He bought a rifle and used it carelessly. Then you defend him, throw a tantrum, and play internet tough guy.

Just step away from the keyboard, take a few breaths, and let the big boys sort this one out.

Wingmaster

Agree to disagree on this one. I have been stating what is lawful fact about the use of rifle in this zone DURING the hunting season (3 times) for safety. If I new how to spell that out with phonics I would so you might be able to understand. You get all pissy with me and then when I shoot back you start whining and call me names. Must be a liberal with the use of these tactics.

The only ignorance on display is your refusal to look at this situation with eyes wide open. We do not know if there is neglect in how he was shooting. There haven't been any charges yet but you have him hanging from the nearest tree. If he is charged with stupid use of a gun AFTER its been investigated he can fall on his stupid actions.

If you read the whole article it states there "has been tracking similar incidents at the game area for the past year, and that changes are needed to ensure the safety of township residents". Because that seems to not be clear to you, that means he isn't the only one that has shot there with bullets landing in surrounding neighborhoods. If they are TARGET practicing there without a proper backstop, put a berm in. Why is that so hard to grasp. Everybody is happy and nobody gets hurt.

Your little tent and what type of person that uses a gun in it is what is going to "drag us down" Have ya noticed how many people are buying guns right now. Guaranteed some of them haven't used a gun before. In the eyes of the non gun public, they are no different then you and me. We are better off giving them somewhere safe to shoot and in the process some education on how to use a gun. I can go on about that but that's for another time.

You want to have a rational discussion with me about any topic bring it on. You start throwing insults and name calling at me better be prepared to take it "like a big boy."

ghresident

Dang Wing! on a mission this morning?.....lol!

Wingmaster

Yeah sorry gotta drag everyone thru that. If we can't look at the whole situation with situations like this we are going to lose the battle. If this guy gets thumped for reckless use of his rifle he deserves it. If there is an on going safety situation here with target practice it better get resolved before someone gets hurt. A berm is the most rational fix. If its a hunting situation, we have to find a safe solution to that.

You know the media is going to jump down on the guns if someone is hurt because it sells for them. Lets be proactive in safety so we don't end up there.

Fatal error for BTW is he doesn't offer a solution just grandstand against me for offering one. I took a couple of snipes from him but that's all this soft loveable guy is going to take without showing a fang!

Back to the Wall

My issue with you, Wingmaster,is your willingness to back up your opinions with misinformation. Intellectual laziness will always come back and bite in a public arena. Now that you have a fundamental understanding of the irrelevant statutes you misquoted, I think you are ready to consider my proposal.

My solution is to prosecute offenders. I do not believe in spend spend spending to make myself feel better. I don't believe in legislative masturbation to make myself feel better.

I propose prosecuting gun criminals fully under existing laws. I don't support making New Laws. There are quite enough already, so many, it seems, that not even wingmaster can keep them straight.

I reject the idea that. we need to use tax dollars to build, staff and maintain facilitites. How many official ranges are maintained on state land? I can only think of two, Rose Lake and another near Flint. How much cash does the dnr have to build, operate and maintain a facility? Not much. There are at least three open private sector, for-fee ranges within 10 miles of the incident. Tulip City, North Ottawa, and Blendon Pines (are they still operating, its been a long time). I propose that operating ranges is a function of the private sector.

It is not the state's responsibility to provide the means and facilities for the public to exercise their constitutional rights. It is the state's responsibility to try and convict and punish criminals.

Finally, IN MY OPINION, it is the duty of any special interest group, whether gun owners, medical marijuana advocates, motorcyclists,or nuclear physicists, to police their own ranks. If a practicioner operates outside the guidelines of good conduct, it is the responsibility of allied individuals to either reign in the offender, expell and ostricize the offender, or turn the offender over to law enforcement. Protecting and coddling only encourages improper behavior and unsafe situations, and is a disservice to the majority who follows rules and guidelines for safe behavior. That opinion is based on centuries of societal evolution.

In conclusion we have two options- tax and spend in a futile attempt to create an risk free society, or demand personal responsibility while allowing the free market to offer solutions. The choice is yours.

Wingmaster

Now we're cooking with Crisco. I agree with every thing you just stated. (Well except for the "back up your opinions with misinformation part, but I'm willing to let that go)

Careful about your willingness to prosecute offenders without all the facts. You may find yourself on the wrong side of that sword in culture we are in right now.

Using and enforcing the laws we have now is dead nuts right on along with personal responsibility for ones actions. With all that said, the problem remains with the potential for some innocent bystander getting hurt while you and I debated the nuisances of what it is to be a responsible citizen. In about 20 minutes a berm could be bull dozed in areas like this to solve at least part of the problem. It does not need to be manned shooting range. It does not need to happen in all areas like this. Probably could even find someone in the area that would donate the use of their tractor and time to do so. Better yet a sportsman or lady to give back to their sport. If not, spending a little of the money I pour into the sport with license fees is fine if it means I don't have to worry as much when a novice takes his gun to an area he thinks is safe and fires it. In the mean time I know we tried to set up a safe situation in an area that has had previous cited for incidences with stray bullets landing in peoples yards, barns and homes. This tells me it is not just a one time random idiot firing off some rounds. Hell, maybe even the Trib would cover such an event! Oh, I know I really just stepped thru the looking glass with that hope but one can suggest.

Your finally opinion puts us right back on the same page. Policing of the ranks and demonstrating concern over public safety go hand and hand. There is a whole line up of reckless people in all walks of life. That too is based on centuries of (non) evolution! Setting up a low cost solution here is cheap insurance someone doesn't injury a neighbor, you or me. That my friend is a free market creative solution without ignoring the problem. Waiting for this to evolve into a tragedy is not an option I want to consider.

If I missed something there its because of the difficulty using a smartphone for a long post. I'll clear up any issues you may have with follow up post. I believe tho we pretty much extingushed this little skirmish.

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