LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Improper use of targets?

Oct 19, 2011


Tell me it isn’t so, that the Grand Valley State University Police Department didn’t position their silhouette targets on top of the earth-constructed bullet stop. Tell me that someone in charge didn’t stop to think that families were living beyond the range and the trajectory of their .40-caliber rounds would put those families in harm’s way. How many times in the past did this group during their practice events position their targets the same incorrect way using several different caliber guns? Tell me that the incorrect and dangerous placement of targets from this group didn’t put an end to three generations of sports shooting for my family and hundreds more like ours.

It was the improper placement of targets that shut the club down.

— Bob DeHare, Grand Haven



From the Sheriff Department's report: "In addition, the investigation revealed that there were other incidents of damage sustained by the exterior of homes in the Cutter Park subdivision that appeared to be the result of earlier incidents of errant rounds not attributed to the training exercise on Sept. 29, but believed to be related to shooting activity at the North Ottawa gun range." So it is clear that exercises conducted by GVSU on Sept. 29th are not the only reason the NORGC remains closed.


If Mr. DeHare thinks its only GVSU that caused this problem, you are sadly mistaken.
The police report concludes that this is not an isolated incident.
Some homes have been shot as long as 9 months ago.

There are now 11 homes with over 20 bullets in them.
Some rounds have been found on the streets and there are likely hundreds in our lawns, fields, and ponds.

This is more than just GVSU misplacing targets.


In my opinion the gun club range should be reopened and the range should be supervised by only qualified range safety officers (RSO) to prevent problems like this. This incident would have never happened if a knowledgeable and competent RSO was in charge of the range at the time of the ricochet. As far as who is at fault for the out of range ricochet rounds on the 29th of September. The RSO running the GVSU training is 100% liable for any and all incidents that occur during the training under his watch. The RSO in this case was negligent in following standard outdoor shooting range protocol by allowing the placement of the shoot-thru targets to be set more than 50 feet from the back stop. I have trained shooters at multiple outdoor ranges throughout the years. When I work as an RSO the safety of the range is my responsibility and I am personally held liable for any safety infraction that causes damage or injury while on watch. If the RSO did not understand this basic rule of target placement then he or she should not be an RSO. Unfortunately ignorance of standard protocol by a shooting instructor is not a defense that can hold water in a court of law.


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