I am writing in response to the article, "Police Chief Shot Down Over Gun Range," in the Jan. 30 issue of the Grosse Pointe News. This report, although a sad reflection of our times, stirred fond memories of my youth.
I attended my first hunter safety course at the Grosse Pointe Woods police station in the early 1970s when I was 12 years old. After completing the hunter safety course, I completed the NRA marksmanship training course also held at the police station range.
In the following years, I shot small-bore rifle (22 caliber) every Thursday evening and Saturday morning when the Grosse Pointe Woods range was open to junior rifle. I finally achieved the expert marksman rating at age 16. In addition to providing the foundation for a lifetime of competitive shooting, this experience also instilled a deep respect of law enforcement.
The police chief at that time was very instrumental in assuring a successful junior program by providing the necessary range time and coordinating with Parks & Recreation and the Department of Civil Marksmanship. His son (who became a police officer) and I had a friendly shooting rivalry that spanned several years at the range.
I later became a certified rifle instructor, hunter safety instructor and range safety officer. I now help coach junior rifle teams at two private clubs. My two oldest daughters (both with state and national championship honors) and son have had the privilege of shooting at the police station on occasion. They will miss the opportunity to shoot there. (Their grandparents live in Grosse Pointe Woods).
The loss of this community resource for the reasons stated in the article represent more than a loss of local shooting opportunity. Walling off the public safety department to the community weakens the bond of trust between law enforcement and the community.
With the elimination of one of the safest sporting activities due to liability concerns, shouldn't the closing of Lakefront Park also be considered? Is it really possible for 22s (a subsonic unjacketed 40-grain bullet) to clog the trap? Have civilians really been allowed to shoot shotguns in the range?