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Protect gun range

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to the article, "Police chief shot down over gun range," by Brad Lindberg, printed in the Jan. 30 issue of the Grosse Pointe News.

This article concerned a discussion at the Jan. 20 Grosse Pointe Woods City Council meeting about closing the police shooting range to resident use. I attended this meeting and spoke in defense of keeping the range available for resident use.

My particular concerns about this article are as follows:

Although this article was ostensibly written about what transpired during this council meeting, there are quotes from people (Ms. Warnack and Ms. Chylinski) who did not even speak during this part of the meeting, yet the reader would never know that.

Nowhere in this article does Mr. Lindberg mention that this range has been available for resident use for 40 years without injury to any civilian. This comment was made repeatedly during this meeting and was even verified by the chief of police during this meeting, yet the reader would never know that.

Mr. Lindberg accurately portrays me as being one of the users of this range who came forward to speak in favor of keeping the range open. However, nowhere does Mr. Lindberg mention the many people who, although they attended this meeting for a different purpose, got up to speak in favor of keeping this range open for resident use.

These speakers fathers, mothers, residents and business owners spoke of their desire to have a close, safe place to teach their children gun safety and marksmanship as well as have a place to target practice themselves. A couple of them even offered to donate their time and money to help make any necessary upgrades or safety improvements to this range.

Mr. Lindberg stated that on average, only 3.1 residents use this range per month. If he had bothered to talk with the man who runs the range, Mr. Lozen, he would have found out that this figure is actually more like three per week.

Admittedly this is a small number but how many people knew this range was available for resident use? I lived in this community for years before I knew of it. In fact, knowledge of the availability of this range was so sparse that not even the city councilman whose committee was in charge of this activity was aware of it.

This, coupled with the fact that this range was only available three hours per week makes this low usage entirely understandable. Once again, however, none of this information was given in this article.

Mr. Lindberg went to great lengths to engender a sense of fear and lawlessness when he describes an incident where Mr. Lozen asked two men to leave the range. In fact, if Mr. Lindberg had bothered to ask Mr. Lozen about this incident he would have found out that these men were simply waiting for a friend to show up. When another shooter came in to use the range, Mr. Lozen had to ask these men to leave because they didn't have the necessary eye and ear protection to make it safe for them to be on the range.

Mr. Lindberg stated that civilians were suspected of "sneaking into closed-off areas of the basement and vandalizing restroom plumbing." This comment is an insult to every resident who uses this range because it was clearly added to make it appear as though we were somehow involved. Not only is this comment an insult it is also, once again, misleading.

What Mr. Lindberg failed to mention in his article is that the access door to the basement was, until last year, left open making the basement accessible to virtually anybody. I think I can speak for all range users when I say I would welcome the installation of video cameras not only in the basement but in the range as well.

Mr. Lindberg states "Civilians have been violating the rules by firing .22-caliber rounds. The small bullets have been clogging the collection trap é" First of all, there is no such rule against firing .22-caliber rounds and once again, if he had bothered to check with Mr. Lozen he could have found that out.

Secondly, if .22-caliber rounds are in fact responsible for clogging the bullet trap then why is it that the only part of the backstop that isn't clogged is the one used almost exclusively by a man who shot nothing but .22-caliber rounds every Saturday?

As for councilperson Chylinski, her sarcastic and uninformed comments concerning my statements before the council are far below what we should expect from our elected representatives. Many people spoke out, in good faith, to ask that this range be kept open to residents for just a couple of hours a week.

We expected that after taking a reasonable amount of time to consider the facts and wishes of all the people who came forward, a fair decision would be made. However, in her case, she appears to be content with being a "rubber stamp" to the wishes of Mr. Makowski.

How can she rationally claim that preventing some residents from using this range, as they have without incident for the past 40 years, will somehow prevent terrorism in Grosse Pointe Woods? If I were a terrorist I could sure pick a better place to start than a police department basement.

The only people, other than police, who are known to be carrying weapons into the city hall, are the target shooters who use this range. What mechanism is in place to prevent any "evil-doer" at anytime from walking into the city hall or any municipal building for that matter with a weapon? How will keeping us out of the range stop that, Ms. Chylinski?

Finally, I'd like to point out that everyone I have ever met at this range is a decent law-abiding and safety-conscious person.

Furthermore, each had to go through a State Police background check to even purchase the pistol they bring with them to the range. Interestingly, many of those background checks were initiated at the Grosse Pointe Woods Police Department.

Brian McCutcheon

Grosse Pointe Woods

Brian McCutcheon
February 13, 2003

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